Mandeep Punia being taken to court
Mandeep Punia being taken to court

Freelance journalist Mandeep Punia, who was arrested on Saturday from the Singhu border, was sent to 14-day judicial custody after he was presented before Court number 2 (Tihar Jail) by Delhi Police and the Metropolitan Magistrate Akhil Malik on Sunday, reported Live Law.

As per the FIR lodged against Punia, he has been charged under Sections 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions), 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) r/w Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code.

A purported video of the incident shows a group of policemen with lathis forcibly taking Punia away. Another journalist, Dharmender Singh, was also briefly picked up and later let go after he showed his press ID, police said.

“Punia was standing with the protesters and he didn’t have a press ID card. He was trying to move through the barricades which were kept to segregate and secure the area. An altercation broke out between police personnel and him. He misbehaved… there was some manhandling as well. He was then detained,” a senior police officer told Indian Express.

Meanwhile, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has reacted to the arrest of Punia, saying that those who are scared of truth arrest honest scribes. Rahul Gandhi tweeted in Hindi, "Those who fear truth arrest honest journalists." He also tagged a video purportedly showing Punia being held by police at the border protest site.

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said journalists covering the farmers' movement are being arrested, cases are being slapped against them and the internet is being shut down in many places. "The BJP government wants to trample upon the voice of the farmers, but they have forgotten that the more you suppress, the more voices will rise against your atrocities," she said in a tweet in Hindi.

Swaraj India leader Yogendra Yadav tweeted, “I have known Mandeep to be a passionate and committed journalist. Picking up someone like him, without any legal basis, is another instance of growing threat to free media.”

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