March 2, 2017 by NUJMcrSalford
Branch is leading a campaign to support NUJ member, investigative journalist Amitt Bhatt and seeks help from other journalists, trade unionists and human rights campaigners.
Amitt is seeking asylum in the UK on human rights grounds. He fled India after his journalistic activities, and specifically his investigations into government corruption, put him under threat.
Amitt will speak at an NUJ event on March 6. This might be Amitt’s last opportunity to speak publicly about his fight against deportation. Show your solidarity with Amitt by joining us at the NUJ at 18.30pm. Other speakers include:
• Khalid Hassan, Professor, politics and governance, Central University of Kashmir.
• Radha D’Souza, Reader in international law, University of Westminster
• Tim Gopsill, NUJ, author of report on Human Rights on Kashmir
• Plus speakers from the NUJ and international organisations
Amitt is a Hindu from the Kashmir valley and has written three books about human rights abuses in Kashmir: Cryashmir; Lies and Genocides of the Indian Government; and Kashmiri Pandits – Victims of Betrayal and Deception by the Indian Government.
An attempt is currently being made, through a case in the Indian courts, to ban two of his books.
Following the publication of his second book about Kashmir, Amitt was arrested by the Indian police in early February 2011 and tortured and beaten until his escape from detention in mid-March 2011. After this, he went into hiding for three years, moving frequently around the country. In April 2014, he left India and claimed asylum in the UK. Amitt’s wife Manjeet was also threatened because of his work and was forced to leave India in March 2011.
Sign the petition here.
The lack of safety for journalists in India is a serious concern to the NUJ, our sister unions in the country and the International Federation of Journalists. Amitt’s journalistic activities would make him particularly vulnerable given the current situation in India.
The IFJ has recorded numerous incidents against journalists in India including threats and intimidation, harassment, kidnapping, murder, torture, extra-judicial killings, false criminal and sedition cases, and unlawful censorship.
We are also aware of the authorities acting with impunity against journalists including unlawful detention, killings, disappearances and there is a deliberate absence of justice for the perpetrators by the police and other security agencies.
If Amitt was to be returned to India, it is extremely likely, given the current situation in the country, that he would face persecution, arrest, physical assault, torture or even murder for exercising his right to freedom of expression through his journalistic work. He should be given asylum in the UK where he can work in safety.
For these reasons we are pressing for Amitt to remain in the UK and to enable him to continue his journalistic career without fear of threats or retaliation.
His claim was turned down, he lodged an appeal and the hearing takes place in Manchester on March 14.
We ask members to write to their MPs in support of Amitt
PLEASE COPY ALL CORRESPONDENCE TO firstname.lastname@example.org and don’t forget to include Amitt’s Home Office number B1946865 in all your correspondenceto the Home Secretary, Immigration Minister and MPs.
Here is a MODEL LETTER you can use.