NEW DELHI: In a joint statement issued here on Saturday five Members of Parliament from the opposition have described the raids on Indian Express offices as a “criminal attack”. The signatories to the statement are, Mr. Arun Nehru, Mr. Ajit Singh, Mr. Sharad Yadav, Mr. Arif Mohd. Khan and Mr. Rasheed Masood.

The statement said: “The raids on Indian Express which have by now become repeated and even customary merely confirmed the true character of the Rajiv Gandhi Government as a “desperate and despotic” regime. They also reflect its keenness to wreak vengeance on a newspaper that kept him and his associates in the trade that goes on in the name of State of India, under critical scrutiny.”

It said, “The criminal attack on Indian Express which started some years ago in March 1987 has not abated. If anything it has escalated and intensified into an unequal war between and all powerful State and a public spirited newspaper.

The statement pointed out, “When Indian Express says that the hundreds of criminal cases against it are merely intended to reduce it into a clerical establishment to the neglect of its central pursuits including the exposure of the criminalities in the Government and its allies, it is clearly no exaggeration. The travel restrictions on its Chairman and other Officials merely testify to the meanness of the government and, at once illustrate its determination to harm and hurt those who refuse to endorse its questionable conduct and also the lengths to which it will go in the process.”

”The persecution of Indian Express is in total contrast to the ease and rapidity with which grave offenders at law have been let off with the State as a whole abetting in the absolutions with retrospective sanction and suppressions of evidence,” the statement added.

They further said, “Mr. Gandhi may, by his arithmetical advantage in Parliament held captive by antireflection rules, defer and delay the day of reckoning, however, when the day comes, the people of India will strongly bear in mind, amongst the countless misdeeds of the Gandhi government, its criminal misconduct towards the Indian Express.

Article extracted from this publication >>  March 24, 1989