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Tuesday 22 October 2019
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Sat: Political harassment

Cops search Radio and TV Jaagriti again

Satnarayan Maharaj
Satnarayan Maharaj

MAHA Sabha leader Sat Maharaj alleged political harassment in the police’s second search on Radio and TV Jaagriti yesterday.

This follows a similar visit in April after Maharaj made controversial remarks on air about Tobagonians.

During his Maha Sabha Strikes Back programme, Maharaj said during the 1.15 pm visit yesterday, the police showed him no search warrant. He lamented that ten officers visited the station yesterday (up from nine the first time), all of whose names and badge numbers he called. Saying two officers would have been sufficient, he said the use of ten amounted to political harassment. Maharaj alleged they were acting on political instructions. He pushed the point by saying the first “raid” had come just after the Prime Minister told a political rally at Barataria that Maharaj had allegedly committed sedition in his controversial remarks.

“Didn’t you find enough evidence the first time?” he asked of the police, claiming an intent to silence his station.

Maha Sabha attorney Dinesh Rambally lamented that when their six-person legal team went to court on May 31 to challenge sections of the Sedition Act, the Office of the Attorney General had sent no attorneys.

“The matter stands adjourned.” He warned of a threat to media freedom.

His colleague Stephan Ramkissoon recalled legally challenging the Commissioner of Police (CoP) for failing to show a warrant on the first occasion, and for a purported policy of only showing it upon a legal challenge being made. He said it seems to be a trend and borders on harassment.

Maharaj chimed in, “Are we not entitled to believe this is political harassment?”

Placing his faith in an independent judiciary, he concluded, “If they silence us, you are next.”

Contacted by Newsday yesterday on Maharaj’s claim that the station was “raided” by police, Police Commissioner Gary Griffith said that was not the case. He said it was an exercise to gather information.

“Any time the police go to acquire information it is not a raid.”

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