Desh Ki Baat

Centre: The Vice Journalist Angad Singh Blacklisted, depicted India in a “negative manner”

The Union government claimed that Singh’s documentary, “India Burning,” presented India in a “negative manner” In August of last year, he was deported from Delhi to New York.

The Centre informed the Delhi High Court on Friday that despite holding an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card, The Vice journalist Angad Singh had been placed on a blacklist for providing false information in his application for a journalistic visa and breaking other rules.

To confirm whether any proceedings have been started against Angad Singh, who produces documentaries for Vice News focusing on Asia, for the cancellation of the OCI card, Justice Prathiba M. Singh granted the Centre counsel time to obtain instructions and file an affidavit.

The High Court further requested information from the Centre‘s attorney regarding whether the petitioner had received any show cause notices.

The journalist’s appeal against the central government’s denial of his entry in India was being heard by the High Court. August of the previous year saw his deportation from Delhi to New York.

“Let the above instructions be placed before the court by way of an affidavit within two weeks,” the court said and listed the matter for further hearing on February 28. The Centre submitted that Singh had depicted India in a “negative manner” in the India Burning documentary.

The journalist’s attorney, Swathi Sukumar, argued that, under the terms of the Citizenship Act, holders of OCI cards have all the rights recognised by the Indian Constitution, except for a few rights listed in section 7B (2).

By Section 7D of the Act, the cardholder must be given a reasonable opportunity to be heard before an order to cancel the OCI card can be made, according to the attorney.

The lawyer asserted that Angad Singh’s OCI card is still in effect and that, following the counter-affidavit submitted by the Centre, even though he has been placed on a blacklist, his OCI card has not yet been revoked. The HC observed, He is a journalist working at VICE news and had applied for permission to shoot in India in January 2020 for Republic Day celebrations and other events in India. He was issued a (mention full)NOC permit on January 14, 2020 by the Consulate General of India in New York to film a documentary sometime in March 2020.

However, since he could not visit immediately, he applied for a second permission which he was again granted on January 30, 2020. Both the NOCs which were issued were subject to specific terms and condition

It was observed that Singh applied for a special permit sometime in 2021 to travel to India once more to cover a rocket launch, and conduct some interviews. Sukumar reported that her client did not receive a response about the above mentioned application. The court noted that Singh reapplied for permission to host a food show in September–October 2021; this application was denied with a one-line refusal.

The government’s counsel, Anurag Ahluwalia, said Singh was blacklisted because he had allegedly violated Clause 11A of the Foreigners Order, 1948, which states that “no foreigner can produce a film for public exhibition without permission in writing from the central government”. Therefore, he was blacklisted despite being an OCI cardholder, Ahluwalia added.

The court listed the matter to be heard on February 28, after Ahluwalia sought two weeks to obtain information on “whether any show cause notice or proceedings were commenced” against Singh for the cancellation of his Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card.

India Burning is a documentary by The VICE that says, “With India’s leaders ramping up Hindu nationalist rhetoric, there’s growing fear among the nation’s 200 million Muslims”.

In the Documentary, The Vice News Anchor Isobel Yeung is taking an interview with Dr Subramanian swamy. He said that “where the Muslim population is large, there is always trouble,” Yeung countered by pointing out that with 200 million Muslim residents, India has the second-largest Islamic population in the world. When Swamy stuck to his position, she told him his comments sounded “like hatred,” but he said he was “kind.”

Once Yeung cited Article 14 of India’s constitution — “The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India” — he told her she was misinterpreting it and Muslims are “not in an equal category” to non-Muslims.

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