Rupesh Kumar Singh is a journalist based in Jharkhand state. His phone number appeared in a leaked database related to Pegasus hacking software in 2021. The cyber surveillance was in response to his report on the police killing of an unarmed tribal man in Jharkhand in 2017.
On July 15, 2022, he posted on his Twitter account about the plight of villagers affected by air pollution as a result of the industries established in the region. Two days later, he was arrested under the stringent anti-terror law, the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, over the allegations that he was involved in arranging funds for the Maoists.
Life and Activism
Singh hails from Bihar and has always been politically active on the ground. He was part of the state council for the All India Student’s Association (AISA), the student arm of the Communist Party of India Liberation (CPI-L). In 2012, he turned to freelance journalism and reported on oppressed and marginalized communities.
As a journalist, he has extensively written on the rights of marginalized communities for the news websites Janchowk, Media Vigil, and Gauri Lankesh News, along with Hindi magazines such as Dastak.
His reports have addressed issues such as displacement, militarization, extrajudicial killings of Adivasis, and false imprisonment of Adivasis and other marginalized communities.
In 2019, the journalist was persecuted for reporting on the extrajudicial killing of a tribal worker. On his arrest, the politico-legal advocacy group Rihai Manch and the US-based Committee to Protect Journalists condemned his arrest, stating that Singh had been targeted for his fearless journalism. He was released on bail six months later as the police failed to submit the charge sheet.
Despite the surveillance and the threat of being imprisoned under draconian laws, he pursued his journalism.
Charges and Allegations
Sections 10 and 13 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. Sections 420 (cheating), 467 (forgery), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating) and 471 (using forged document) of the Indian Penal Code.
Not yet released.