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In India, politics of beef and rising intolerance threaten press freedom

Student activists carry placards denouncing the lynching of a 52-year-old Muslim farmer as they shout anti-government slogans in New Delhi, India, 2 October 2015
Student activists carry placards denouncing the lynching of a 52-year-old Muslim farmer as they shout anti-government slogans in New Delhi, India, 2 October 2015

AP Photo/Altaf Qadri

Excerpt of a 3 November 2015 CPJ Blog post by Sumit Galhotra/CPJ Asia Program Research Associate.

The violence over the tightening of laws banning the consumption of beef in parts of India and debate over the reach of a right-wing Hindu agenda are having an impact on press freedom. An editor who wrote about the benefits of beef was fired last week, journalists have received death threats from extremist groups, and writers have handed back awards in protest of what they see as the government's failure to address a rising tide of intolerance.

On Thursday, Devyani Singh, editor of Shiksha Saarthi, a bilingual magazine published in Hindi and English by the Haryana state education department, was fired by government officials. Singh published a piece in the September issue titled, "Iron-Vital for Strength" that merely listed beef and veal as being sources of iron, according to news reports. Copies of the magazine were recalled from schools and the online issue was removed from the elementary education department's website. A copy was available on the website of the secondary education department, at the time of writing.

Read the full blog post on CPJ's site.

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