NUJ statement of support for Amitt Bhatt
21 October 2016
The union has issued a supporting statement for NUJ member Amitt Bhatt's anti-deportation campaign.
Amitt is a member of the Manchester and Salford NUJ branch and an investigative journalist, writer and human rights activist.
Amitt is seeking asylum in the UK on human rights grounds, after fleeing India after his journalistic activities, and specifically his investigations into government corruption, put him under threat.
He 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, he 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.
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.
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.