Prabir Purkayastha

Prabir Purkayastha, founder and editor-in-chief of news organization NewsClick was arrested under an anti-terrorism law.


The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Hindu nationalist party led by current Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has been strategically targeting Indian journalists, specifically those critical of the Indian government, since it took power in 2014. According to The Wire, at least 194 journalists were targeted across the country in 2022 and by state agencies, non-state political actors, and armed opposition groups. The Indian state’s targeting of NewsClick has been deemed the “biggest crackdown on the Indian Press by the Indian State,” according to The Wire.

Activists and human rights advocates have expressed grave concerns over the immense crackdown on free speech in India, according to Wired. Homes of 46 journalists who are alleged to be directly or indirectly associated with NewsClick were raided by Delhi police, according to The Wire. The journalists were questioned about the Delhi communal riots, CAA protests in 2019-20, the farmer’s movement in 2020-21, and if they used encrypted messaging applications.

Life / Activism

Prabir Purkayastha, editor-in-chief of NewsClick, founded the news website in 2009. Purkayastha was previously arrested in 1975 during a state of emergency enacted by then-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, according to Aljazeera. India’s domestic law enforcement agency launched raids at the NewsClick office and Purkayastha’s residence over allegations of money laundering related to foreign funding in 2021. This is also when NewsClick was heavily covering the farmers’ protests. Purkayastha was arrested again under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) over allegations of receiving foreign money.

Charges and Allegations

Prabir Purkayastha was arrested under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and criminal conspiracy charges over allegations of receiving foreign money, according to AlJazeera. The Special Cell of the Delhi Police initially registered a first information report (FIR) in the case on August 17 under Sections 13, 16, 17, 18 and 22 of the UAPA and Sections 153A and 120B of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for encouraging religious animosity between groups and criminal conspiracy, respectively. 

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