Assault by cops: Journalists protest outside police HQ
During Friday’s protest near INA Market, a newspaper reporter was allegedly molested by a policeman while a photojournalist with Hindustan Times was roughed up and her camera allegedly snatched by a group of policewomen.delhi Updated: Mar 24, 2018 22:54 IST
A day after two women journalists accused Delhi Police personnel of assaulting them during a march by Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students and teachers, a protest was held outside the police headquarters at ITO seeking action in the matter.
During Friday’s protest near INA Market, a newspaper reporter was allegedly molested by a policeman while a photojournalist with Hindustan Times was roughed up and her camera allegedly snatched by a group of policewomen.
The HT journalist’s camera remained untraced as of Saturday evening.
Journalists from various news organisations gathered outside the police headquarters demanded that the police commissioner hear them. Photojournalists also put down their cameras on the ground as a mark of protest.
Terming Friday’s incident as “unfortunate”, Delhi Police spokesperson Madhur Verma on Saturday apologised to the media and said the police officers did not intend to assault the journalists.
“We have taken strong cognizance of the matter and an inquiry has been ordered. What has happened is very unfortunate and therefore let’s take constructive and corrective measures,” Verma said in a statement.
Delhi Police chief spokesperson and special commissioner Dependra Pathak said, “The vigilance unit is doing an independent inquiry into the incident. It will take two to three days. We will take appropriate and strict action based on the findings of the inquiry.” However, no FIR had been registered in case of the alleged molestation or assault on the journalists.
Pathak said a case of rioting, destruction of public property and obstructing public servants from discharging their duty has been registered over the clashes at INA Market. “It is an open ended FIR. In the same case, we will also be probing the assault on our SHOs and other policemen. We may add other sections if necessary,” he said.
He added that another FIR was being registered in connection over the HT journalist’s missing camera. Officials in the know of the matter said the purpose of the FIR regarding the camera was for help in insurance-related paperwork.
A joint statement released by various press associations condemned the role of the police and demanded strict action against the police personnel involved.
“Two women journalists were roughed up; one of whom was intimidated and threatened by members of the women police and even more shockingly, the other journalist was molested by station house officer Vidyadhar Singh on duty. A third male journalist has his arm in a sling after being beaten up by policemen,” said the statement by Press Club of India, Indian Women’s Press Corps, Press Association and Federation of Press Clubs in India.
Meanwhile, JNU Teachers’ Association (JNUTA) on Saturday announced that it would take part in another protest march on March 28. The march, organised by the Federation of Central Universities’ Teachers’ Associations (FEDCUTA) is scheduled to start from Mandi House and conclude at Parliament Street.