National

NWMI expresses support to Shirin Dalvi

​The Network of Women in Media, India (NWMI) expresses its support to Shirin Dalvi, editor of the Mumbai edition of the Urdu daily Awadhnama. Shirin Dalvi faces a number of cases in different police stations in Mumbai, Thane and Malegaon on charges of violating Sec 295 A of the Indian Penal Code (“deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage reli­gious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or reli­gious beliefs”), for having published a cover of the French magazine Charlie Hebdo, which had a cartoon of Prophet Mohammed, along with a news report, on January 17. She has already apologised in print for this on January 18. 
 

Dalvi was forced to go underground after sections of the Urdu Press gave exaggerated reports about possible law and order problems due to her act. There have been demonstrations and hunger strikes in her hometown Mumbra and dire pronouncements on social media and Whatsapp that her “crime”' cannot be forgiven and deserved the harshest punishment of death. 

 

Shirin Dalvi began writing on social and political issues and contributing to Urdu newspapers from her teens and rose to become the first woman editor of an Urdu daily newspaper.  Yet, there have been derogatory references about her dress-style and “irreligiosity”; questions raised about her journalistic skills and the reasons for her swift rise to the top position in her profession. These comments and propaganda betray a misogynist mindset and contribute to an alarming and dangerous campaign in the present context of the charges against her.  

 

The NWMI appeals to the government to provide security to Dalvi so that she can return home and live safely, and also asks it to act against those pronouncing the death sentence on her on Facebook and Whatsapp. We also urge the government to ensure that Dalvi and her staff are compensated for the sudden closure of the paper.