New Delhi: The Indian Journalists Union ( IJU ) strongly condemns UP govt’s repeated gagging of the media and assault and arrest of journalists by its police while covering the Hathras incident. Two freelance journalists, one from UP, Asad Rizvi was brutally beaten by the police in Lucknow and another Delhi-based Siddique Kappan was detained at Mathura. These incidents are a clear attack on the freedom of the press and the IJU demands that the government initiate an inquiry and take action against the policemen.
Rizvi was brutally beaten up by the policemen at GPO on Gandhi Jayanti Day when he and his cameraman colleague were filming the posse of policemen stationed there to stop citizens from coming there to protest. A woman police inspector asked him not to shoot pictures as he needed permission and insisted he speak to her superior.
The officer, an inspector rank, instead of talking started kicking him and the policemen around dragged him, started beating him saying he and his colleague were there only to create a nuisance. The cops tried to smash his phone and pushed them inside the police car, took away the memory card and then suddenly let them off. IJU joins Rizvi in demanding Principal Information Secretary and both DC and DM take action against the cops involved.
Kappan who writes for Malayalam news websites was stopped at a toll plaza in Mathura along with three others, on Monday afternoon while he was heading to Hathras. The police claimed the men were linked to the Popular Front of India, whereas the fact is he is a freelanced journalist and was only doing his duty. He must be released immediately.
In a statement, IJU President and former member of Press Council of India, Geetartha Pathak and Secretary General and IFJ Vice President Sabina Inderjit condemned the incidents saying that the Yogi Adityanath government was brazenly indulging in undeclared censorship of the media and denying the citizens right to information. The harassment, intimidation of journalists and gagging of truth was unacceptable in any democratic society, said the IJU and demanded that the government desist from such bullying tactics and respect the freedom of the press.