BHOPAL (Madhya Pradesh): Taking cognisance into the incident wherein the YouTuber journalists was paraded half-naked in a police station in Sidhi district on April 2, Madhya Pradesh Human Rights Commission has asked the director general of police (DGP) to present detailed report within one week, said the officials on Friday.
Kotwali police station incharge Manoj Soni and sub inspector Abhishek Singh Parihar have been attached with police lines after a video went viral in social media claiming that a group of YouTubers including a journalist were arrested and stripped down to their undergarments by Sidhi police.
In the photo that has been shared with the post, eight men are seen standing against the wall, half-naked in their undergarments. The incident allegedly happened on April 2 in Sidhi district.
Journalist and YouTuber Kanishk Tiwari, who has been identified in the photo, had gone to cover the arrest of theatre artiste Neeraj Kunder who was arrested for allegedly making indecent remarks about BJP MLA Kedarnath Shukla and his son Guru Dutt using a fake ID.
Neeraj Kunder is the director of Indravati Natya Samiti in Sidhi district and has reportedly been working to preserve the art of Vindhyas. As per reports, Kunder had created a fake Facebook ID in the name of Anurag Mishra. Upon his arrest, many people including Kunder's parents reached police station.
Another theatre artist Narendra Bahadur Singh, who went to police station in support of Neeraj Kunder, said they were all beaten up and asked to strip. Journalist Kanishk Tiwari was also beaten up. He has exposed scams by the local police as well MLA Kedarnath Shukla.
The MPHRC has asked DGP and Rewa IGP to submit a detailed report within one week time before Commission.
Instruct all law enforcement agencies to respect democratic values, press freedom: EGI to MHA
The Editors Guild of India (EGI) on Friday dubbed as "extremely disturbing" the police action against a journalist in Madhya Pradesh and also in Odisha, and urged the Union Home Ministry to issue "stern directions" to all levels of law enforcement agencies to respect democratic values and freedom of the press.
Strict action needs to be taken against those who misuse state powers, the Guild said in a statement, urging the ministry to take "immediate" cognisance of the two incidents.
In Madhya Pradesh, local journalist Kanishk Tewari and a few activists, who were protesting against the arrest of an artiste, were detained and forced to strip down to their undergarments while in police custody in Sidhi district on April 2.
After the photos of the detained persons in undergarments went viral on social media, two local police officials were transferred, a senior police official said on Thursday.
Police claimed that the scribe was arrested along with others as he had also joined them to stage a protest "in an unauthorised manner" in front of the Kotwali police station against the arrest of Neeraj Kunder, director of Indravati Drama School.
The EGI, however, said Tewari was covering the protest against the arrest of the theatre artiste who had allegedly made some indecent remarks against a BJP MLA and his son.
"The Editors Guild of India is shocked and outraged by the manner in which the police of Sidhi district, Madhya Pradesh, arrested, stripped, and humiliated a local journalist as well as some members of the civil society on April 2, 2022, in retaliation against protest and associated news coverage of the arrest of another member of civil society," it said.
The police took pictures of the journalist and activists and released them on social media to shame and humiliate them, added. "Though Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chohan has suspended the cops and ordered an inquiry into this horrendous case, this increasing tendency of the police and local administration to brazenly attack and intimidate journalists is extremely disturbing and needs to be checked," the Guild said.
In Odisha, an Odia television journalist was allegedly thrashed inside a police station and later leg cuffed to his hospital bed upon falling unconscious, triggering a massive outcry that led to police ordering a probe by a DSP-rank officer into the incident. The journalist, Loknath Dalei, claimed that he was thrashed because he had reported about alleged corruption in Nilgiri police station area in Balasore district.
Dalei was arrested on Wednesday on the charge of assaulting a home guard in Nilgiri market on April 4 even as he denied the allegation, while claiming that he had only hit the homeguard's vehicle with his motorcycle unintentionally.
The Guild urged the Union Home Ministry "to take immediate cognisance of police excesses against journalists and civil society members, and issue stern directions to all levels of law enforcement agencies to respect democratic values and freedom of press." At the same time, strict action needs to be taken against those who misuse state power, the Editors' body added.
"The inhumane manner in which journalists, stringers, and district reporters are often treated by the police in an effort to suppress any independent reporting is a matter of grave concern," the EGI said. PTI
Government of 'new India' afraid of truth: RaGa
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi Friday attacked the BJP over the detention of a journalist and some activists protesting against an artiste's arrest and later forcing them to strip down to their undergarments while in police custody in Madhya Pradesh, claiming the government of 'new India' is afraid of the truth.
"The fourth pillar of democracy disrobed in the lockup! Either sit in the lap of the government and sing their praises, or go to jail," Gandhi said in a tweet in Hindi, sharing a screenshot of a media report.
The government of 'New India' is afraid of the truth, he added.