27 August 2022
New Delhi: The Indian Journalists Union (IJU) has strongly condemned the deportation of Emmy-nominated India-origin American journalist Angad Singh back to New York within three hours of his flight landing at Delhi’s IGI Airport on Wednesday night as government “vendetta and harassment”.
Terming the “gravely disturbing” episode as part of the “ongoing trend of government authorities harassing and intimidating journalists”, IJU president and former Press Council of India member Geetartha Pathak and secretary general and International Federation of Journalists vice-president Sabina Inderjit said in a statement on Friday: “The action of the Union home ministry smacks of vendetta and harassment.”
Singh, employed with VICE News, has made several documentaries on the 2020 Shaheen Bagh protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and published a video on the 2021 Delta wave that won him the Emmy nomination recently. His family alleged that Singh was recently denied a visa he needed to make a documentary film about Dalits in the country.
“It is his award-winning journalism that scares them. It is the stories he did and the stories he is capable of. It is the love for his Motherland that they can’t stand. It is the cutting edge reporting of #ViceNews that gets to them,” Singh’s mother Gurmeet Kaur posted on Facebook on Wednesday.
Demanding reasons from the ministry for the “ad hoc deportation, which is “unacceptable in any free society”, the IJU said that Singh, who is with VICE News, was “only doing his job and should have been allowed to visit his family as it was a personal visit”.
Linking the incident with the “ongoing trend of government authorities harassing and intimidating journalists,” the IJU said: “Recently, two Kashmiri journalists Aakash Hassan and Sanna Matoo were prevented at the IGI Airport from flying to Sri Lanka and Paris, respectively, due to their work. In both cases, no reason was given and exceptions are becoming a rule!”
Singh’s family members in Punjab told The Indian Express that authorities didn’t provide any reason for his deportation. He had come to India for a family reunion, they claimed. Immigration officials are yet to respond to questions asked by the newspaper.
The US Embassy spokesperson told The Hindu that he was unable to comment “due to privacy concerns” regarding US citizens.
Mentioning how Singh’s back hurts during long flights, Kaur posted on Facebook: “He is 6’5” tall. His back hurts from riding long rides in such small spaces. He must be wanting to lay down.”
Explaining how one has to pay a price for speaking truth, Singh mother posted: “It’s not easy to be a Sikh, a Gursikh on top, a journalist, a warrior of truth and justice. Speaking truth has a price. We must pay it. I am comforting your back. See you in the land of free. Ps: So which story do you think pissed them off?”
On July 28, Singh tweeted that VICE’s coverage of the Delta wave had been nominated for an Emmy: “Emmy nominated for our coverage on India’s deadly delta wave. What a recognition to more than a dozen brave, and talented reporters, producers, camera ops, editors and assistants that made our reporting possible.
Singh also produced a video on the country’s farm distress earlier his year. “India’s farming is on the brink of collapse,” he tweeted in February. #