Saturday, March 24, 2018

Thugs in khaki: They regret groping a woman journalist thinking she was a protester

Groping a woman protester was, however, OK. "He (Delhi Cantonment station house officer Vidyadhar Singh) pushed us both away. We said we were journalists and moved away and stood in the corner.  Two minutes later, he came towards me, staring at my chest. He pressed my right breast and pushed me back": woman reporter from a newspaper

Footage shows Anushree Fadnavis, a photographer with Hindustan Times, being roughed up by police in New Delhi on Friday. “I was clicking constables kicking a student who was on the ground. Suddenly an officer said, ‘Iska camera tod do’. Several women constables began to hit me. They snatched my camera. I begged them, ‘Please don’t break it’,” said Fadnavis, fresh on the job. She had not got her camera back till Friday night

New Delhi: Around 6.15pm on Friday, two reporters from a national English newspaper and news agency PTI were covering a march by JNU students and teachers to Parliament to press for several demands, including academic freedom.

The march was stopped near the Safdarjung flyover, over 6km from Parliament. Police lathi-charged the marchers and used water cannons. Several students and teachers were beaten up. So were journalists.

What happened next was recounted by the woman reporter from the newspaper, who was corroborated by the PTI reporter, C.P. Balasubramanyam.

Delhi Cantonment station house officer Vidyadhar Singh charged towards the journalists who were in the service lane of Brigadier Hoshiar Singh Marg after the police had stopped the march with water cannons.

Replying to  
Isn't this apology Ironic? The complainant made charges of molestation against Delhi Police and police apologised saying they mistook a journalist for protestor, does that mean it's fine to molest a protesting women. Shameful.

The police were chasing back the marchers with lathis. The service lane had a few onlookers.

"He (Singh) pushed us both away. We said we were journalists and moved away and stood in the corner. There was no one else there. Two minutes later, he came towards me, staring at my chest. He pressed my right breast and pushed me back," the newspaper journalist later told DCP (New Delhi) Madhur Verma, the public relations officer of Delhi police, an exchange that was witnessed by this reporter.

"Were you wearing an ID? It's hard to believe that nobody else was there. Are you sure?" Verma replied.

After reporters pleaded with every IPS officer at the spot, including Special CP (southern range) Praveer Ranjan, joint CP (New Delhi range) Ajay Chaudhary, at least six DCPs and several others, for half an hour to register a complaint, inspector Singh was made to apologise by DCP (Diplomatic Security Force) Kumar Gyanesh.

"It was in the heat of the moment. He was not targeting you," Gyanesh said.

The woman reporter told him: "When we confronted him after he groped me and asked him how a police officer could behave like this, he said I was lying. Other officers said, ' Galti ho gaya hoga (maybe there was a mistake)'. But he said, 'You are lying'. He is not sorry."

Hindustan Times photographer Anushree Fadnavis alleged an officer snatched her camera while she was trying to click a student being kicked. She had not got it back till 9.30pm.

Praveen Singh, a journalist with web portal Firstpost, was thrashed by two policemen so badly that he had to tie his swollen left arm in a sling to lessen the pain till he could get out of the mayhem unleashed by the police on a largely peaceful demonstration.

More than 1,000 teachers, students and alumni had begun the march from JNU at 3pm, heading towards Parliament 12km away.

Their demands were that the government intervene to stop arbitrary removal of academic heads, scrapping of new rules on attendance and seat cuts, implemented allegedly without discussions, and the suspension of a teacher accused of sexually harassing at least eight researchers. They also opposed "privatisation in the garb of autonomy".

They were accompanied by the police till Safdarjung Flyover, where they were stopped.

"Permission was rejected in writing. We asked them to go to Mandi House by bus and march to Sansad Marg from there. But their leadership abdicated and the crowd assaulted the police. Forty-one personnel have had medico-legal check-ups. We have detained 22 students," joint CP (New Delhi range) Chaudhary said. He did not clarify what action would be taken against errant officers or whether students would be charged. #Delhi police later tweeted that their vigilance branch would probe the case of molestation filed by the journalist.

"Professor Bikramaditya Choudhary, a few students and myself were talking to the officers at the barricade when they suddenly turned on the water cannon. Before I could understand what was happening, there was a lathicharge and students were getting hit," JNU community medicine teacher Vikas Bajpai told The Telegraph.

Science policy scholar Sunny Dhiman, who was detained at Defence Colony police station, said: "We were initially treated well until additional DCP (south) Vijayanta Goyal Arya came and asked officers to photograph us. We asked them to first file a case and call our lawyers.

 We were slapped several times after that and they pulled the beards of (some of the protesters)."

The 22 students were released after Sushmita Dev and Ashok Tanwar of the Congress and K. Somaprasad and Subhashini Ali of the CPM went to Defence Colony police station. Several politicians, including Sushmita, Brinda Karat (CPM), RJD MP Manoj Jha and JDU rebel Govind Yadav addressed the students at the Marg.

Brinda Karat, who held talks with police officers to release all the detainees at the Marg, said: "The corrupt police and administration have colluded to protect criminals guilty of harassing girls.... Your fight today is a fight for every democracy-loving person."

JNU Teachers' Association president Sona Jharia Minz told the students: "You have given an example of what a peaceful protest is. We took this march to educate those with an allergy to JNU that as long as we are not privatised in the name of autonomy, a President's son and a peon's are equal here."-Telegraph India

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