Ranchi/Kolkata: Rupesh Kumar Singh, a journalist from Jharkhand completes one year in jail on July 17. He has been slapped with four cases, got bail only in two. For the release of Rupesh, United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defender May Lawlor wrote to the Indian government that the scribe has been falsely implicated in retaliation for his work on human rights.
Rupesh was among the forty people, whose phone had Pegasus spyware installed and used by Indian authorities to spy on him. He was the only scribe from Jharkhand, who was being spied on for his pro-people journalism.
eNewsroom interviewed Ipsa Shatakshi, wife of Rupesh. Ipsa, mother of a child, used to work as a teacher in a private school when her husband was arrested, but now she left teaching and enrolled for a Law course. Following are the excerpts from the conversation:
eNewsroom: How difficult has it been for you, without Rupesh, who has been in jail for a year now?
Ipsa: It has been really difficult as a life partner and as a mother. Our son always questions when his father will return. When Rupesh was arrested, it was also difficult for him. He has been very close with his father.
Also, all four cases are going on in four far-away places, so we are facing lots of difficulties in tracking it, meeting lawyers and coordinating with them. Meeting Rupesh is another issue.
He was never away from my mind and never was at ease after Rupesh’s arrest.
eNewsroom: Which was the most difficult period for you in the last 365 days?
Ipsa: The first birthday of our son (July 31) after Rupesh’s arrest. It was extremely difficult for me to convince our son that his father will not be there for his birthday.
Watch the full interview of Ipsa
eNewsroom: After the release of journalist Siddiqui Kappan, who was facing similar charges like Rupesh, do you see any ray of hope?
Ipsa: Yes, I was happy. He had been slapped with similar charges like funding and UAPA, so we believe Rupesh will also get bail. This belief is still there.
eNewsroom: Do you fear any new case being slapped on Rupesh?
Ipsa: Yes, this fear always looms. When Rupesh was arrested, there was only one case, but now it is four. A case has been registered in Rohtas district, but Rupesh never went to Rohtas in his life. By doing it, it gives a message that the government wants him to be kept behind bars for a long time.
eNewsroom: Contradiction of governments about Tribals – that they are the well wishers of the community but punishes those who work for them. Your comment please…
Ipsa: After the institutional murder of Stan Swamy, who was deprived of even a straw inside the jail, we realized how shallow the Narendra Modi government is towards the betterment of Tribals. Father Swamy was known for working for the tribals. And when Rupesh was arrested, it made him think about the contradictions in the claims of the government that installed a tribal President in the country.
eNewsroom: Rupesh’s trouble started after reporting on the fake police encounter of Motilal Baske. The issue was also raised by JMM and then opposition leader Hemant Soren. But after Rupesh’s arrest, no statement was issued by any JMM leaders.
Ipsa: This is what I say to most of the JMM leaders. This is kind of a setback for us, that no JMM leader has expressed solidarity with Rupesh, while his reports were used to highlight atrocities of the previous BJP government in Jharkhand. All that I have to say is – now is the time for us to speak up for the release of all the political prisoners.