BENGALURU: Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi accused the NDA government of muzzling freedom of expression in the country and trying to force everyone into silence. He was speaking at an event organised in Bengaluru on Monday to release the commemorative edition of the National Herald, ‘India at a Crossroads: 70 Years of Independence’.
Exuding confidence, the Congress leader took on the Narendra Modi government, terming it dictatorial and exhorted people to fight against attempts to curb freedom of expression.
“Dalits are being beaten up, minorities are frightened, bureaucrats and journalists are not being allowed to speak the truth. The government is trying to silence everyone. Those who speak the truth are being pushed around,’’ he said, adding, “Do not be silent. Do not be afraid.”
He said the words of his great-grandfather and former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, ‘Freedom is in peril, defend it with all your might’, which is on the masthead of the National Herald, are relevant even today. Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari released the National Herald commemorative edition and recalled the role played by the media in India’s freedom struggle.
The commemorative publication is themed around 70 years of India’s Independence and includes articles that focus on the challenges facing the nation. The contributing writers and commentators include Rajmohan Gandhi, Sitaram Yechury, Pavan Varma, Sam Pitroda, P Chidambaram, Kancha Ilaiah, Jean Dreze, Christophe Jaffrelot, among others.
The paper also features an interview of Rahul with its Editor-in-Chief Neelabh Mishra. “I am glad to inform everybody that National Herald, which temporarily suspended publication a few years back, and its Hindi and Urdu sister publications, are in the process of being revived as a multi-media news outlet with a strong digital and print presence,” said Congress leader Oscar Fernandes, who is also director, Associated Journals Ltd.