Modi critic stopped at Mumbai Airport from flying to London

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Modi critic stopped at Mumbai Airport from flying to London


Rana Ayyub has been the target of a relentless campaign of online abuse — including death and rape threats

Indian journalist Rana Ayyub was stopped at the Mumbai Airport on March 29 while she was about to board her flight to London to deliver her speech on the intimidation of journalists with The International Centre for Journalists (ICFJ), as per her recent post on social media.

According to NDTV, she was stopped from flying as she is an accused in an alleged money laundering case, which is being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate.

The journalist, however, tweeted the Enforcement Directorate’s summons “very curiously” reached her inbox only after she was stopped at Mumbai airport.

“I was stopped today at Mumbai immigration from travelling to deliver this address and onwards to International Journalism Festival to deliver the keynote speech on Indian democracy. I had made this announcement public over weeks, yet the ED (Enforcement Directorate) summon very curiously arrived in my inbox after I was stopped,” Ayyub tweeted.

The Washington-based non-profit, International Centre for Journalists, had invited Ayyub to the UK for a discussion on online violence against women journalists. Ayyub has often tweeted she faced online harassment and death threats from trolls.


Reportedly, Ayyub has been a fierce critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Hindu nationalist ideology of his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and has been the target of a relentless campaign of online abuse — including death and rape threats.

On February 27, UN rights experts have called for an end to ‘misogynistic and sectarian’ online attacks against Ayyub, asking the authorities to investigate the harassment.

“She is the victim of intensifying attacks and threats online by far-right Hindu nationalist groups,” the independent rapporteurs, who do not speak for the United Nations but are mandated to report to it, said in a statement on February 21.

They said these attacks were in response to Ayyub’s reporting on issues affecting India’s minority Muslims, her criticism of the government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, and her commentary on the recent hijab ban at schools and colleges in the southern state of Karnataka.

The rapporteurs added that the Indian government had failed to condemn or investigate the attacks.

“She has been subjected to legal harassment by the Indian authorities in relation to her reporting,” they said, including the freezing of her bank account and other assets.


Ayyub, 37, began as an investigative journalist and wrote a book accusing Modi of being complicit in deadly sectarian violence in Gujarat in 2002, when he was state premier.

Investigators cleared Modi of involvement. She has since become a commentator for The Washington Post and other media.

Courtesy: NDTV, AFP and Twitter


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