Outlook magazine’s recent cover story on trafficking of tribal girls hasn’t gone down well with right wing organisations. The investigation into Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s (RSS) #OperationBabyLift was carried out by journalist Neha Dixit. Considerable time was spent in putting the facts together which resulted in a piece of over 11,300 words.
After the report was published, Dixit was subjected to intense abuse and harassment on social media. To make matters worse, an FIR was filed at Latasil Police Station in Guwahati against Outlook’s publisher Indranil Roy, editor Krishna Prasad and Neha Dixit.
The trio has been accused of inciting communal hatred by complainants Bijon Mahajan, Mominul Awwal and Subhash Chandra Kayal. Mahajan and Awwal are members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Exchange4Media gained accessed to a letter issued by Rashtriya Sevika Samiti wherein the outfit directed Outlook to apologize for the supposedly misleading claims. The female wing of the RSS also assured that all its activities are within the confines of the legal system.
On Sunday, a statement was released by a group of academics, activists and journalists in favour of Outlook. “We, the undersigned journalists, activists and academics, condemn in the strongest terms, the brazen attack launched by RSS organisations and individuals on journalist Neha Dixit and Outlook magazine for a thorough investigative report by Dixit based on three months of field work.”
It added that the “report revealed how different Sangh outfits trafficked 31 tribal girls, some as young as three years, from tribal areas of Assam to Punjab and Gujarat.” Some of the signatories to the statement included Anuradha Bhasin Jamwal, Nivedita Menon, Om Thanvi, Sevanti Ninan and Siddharth Vardarajan.
The investigation by Outlook prompted several child rights organisations including Assam State Commission for the Protection of Child Rights to order Sangh Parivar outfits to send the children back to Assam.
Exchange4media sought a response from Outlook’s publisher Indranil Roy regarding the allegations but he sought to reserve his comments. Numerous calls were made to editor Krishna Prasad but he did not revert. Neha Dixit also refused to comment. It is noteworthy to mention that Dixit is married to filmmaker Nakul Singh Sawhney whose documentary “Muzaffarnagar Baaqi Hai” also ran into trouble with right wing groups.