Journalist Neha Dixit threatened with ‘rape, acid attack and death’, stalked for months

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Srinagar: India’s prominent and award-winning journalist, Neha Dixit, on Wednesday said that there was an attempt to break into her house on 25 January and she has been physically stalked, and threatened for several months.

In past too, Dixit has been threatened and harassed due to her strong investigative journalism that spans several years. She is a freelance reporter who has covered many issues, including politics, gender, and social justice; and has also received multiple awards for her work.

On Wednesday, she tweeted a detailed statement explaining the nature of threats and stalking since September 2020. She has been threatened with “rape, acid attack and death” and has been told that she is being targeted for performing her duties as a journalist, she said in the statement.

Many senior journalists and media bodies have condemned this and called for the Delhi police to investigate it thoroughly. In a statement, Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) – a global media watch-dog, called for Indian authorities to thoroughly investigate threats and ensure her safety.

“Delhi police must do everything in their power to ensure journalist Neha Dixit’s safety, and swiftly apprehend those threatening her,” said Aliya Iftikhar, CPJ’s senior Asia researcher. “Dixit and other journalists should not have to fear for their lives simply because of their work, and threats made to them should be taken seriously.”

In 2019, Dixit was also the recipient of CPJ’s International Press Freedom Award.

Complete statement by Dixit reproduced here:

Dear all, Since September 2020, I am being physically stalked. The stalker identifies my exact physical location on phone calls and threatens me with rape, acid attack and death, clearly bringing my profession as a journalist into the conversation.

Several numbers are used to make calls through three-four different voices and over two dozen phone numbers. The stalker also indicates whereabouts of my partner, Nakul, who is a documentary filmmaker, and threatens to kill us both. In continuation with the threats, day before, on Jan 25th, at 9 pm, someone tried to break into my house and ran away when I shouted and opened the door.

I have filed a police complaint at the local police station today and the police is investigating. I feel the need to put this on record because while there is lot of conversation about online trolling, and rightfully so, it is time that we make a sincere effort to up the momentum on offline, physical threats and attacks too.

Looking at the recent precedents where so many journalists, artists, filmmakers, activists, academics have faced violence, some killed, for doing their job, it is imperative that we start paying attention to violence beyond the online world.

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