“My case has at least led to the recognition that procedures have to be made strong”: NewsClick’s Prabir Purkayastha on his release from jail

Shahid Tantray for the Caravan
21 May, 2024

Prabir Purkayastha, the founder of the digital portal NewsClick, was arrested on 3 October 2023, under the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for allegedly receiving funds from China. His house and office have been subject to several raids over the years. The Supreme Court ordered his release from custody on 15 May, categorically stating that his arrest by the Delhi Police was “invalid in the eyes of the law,” since proper procedure had not been followed. Purkayastha had also been arrested during the Emergency, details of which he writes about in his recently published book, Keeping Up the Good Fight: From the Emergency to the Present Day, which was released while he was in jail.

Shahid Tantray, a multimedia reporter at The Caravan, spoke to Purkayastha on 18 May, soon after his release. They spoke about his time in jail, both during the Emergency and under the Modi government; the weaponisation of draconian acts such as the UAPA and PMLA; and the Supreme Court judgment that authorised his release.

Shahid Tantray: You spent more than seven months in jail and you are finally out now. How are you feeling?

Prabir Purkayastha: It’s great to be out. You know, jail is not exactly the most pleasant of places to be in. I am probably one of the people who got out earliest in a UAPA case. This is quite unusual.