Farmers' protests: Delhi Police detains freelance journalist Mandeep Punia at Singhu, claims he 'misbehaved' with cops
The Delhi Police has filed cases against several journalists covering the two-month-long farmers' protest since the violence that broke out on Republic Day
The Delhi Police detained Mandeep Punia, a freelance journalist, at the Singhu border protest site on Saturday. The police alleged that Punia had "misbehaved" with a station house officer (SHO) at Singhu, reports said.
Punia has written for The Caravan and Junputh. Citing purported videos of the detention, reports said that "police personnel in riot gear (were seen) dragging Punia away".
The Indian Express quoted police officials as saying that another journalist, Dharmender Singh, was also "briefly picked up and later let go after he showed his press ID".
"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," the report further quoted a police official as saying.
An editor at The Caravan, Hartosh Singh Bal, tweeted that an FIR has been filed against Punia at the Alipur police station.
we have been informed by addl DCP J. Meena that FIR 52/21 PS Alipur has been filed under sections 186, 332, 353 IPC, we'll take whatever legal recourse is necessary. We've learnt Mandeep had spent the morning trying to track down those from bjp claiming to be 'locals' at Singhu https://t.co/VBUfXAmfs5
— Hartosh Singh Bal (@HartoshSinghBal) January 30, 2021
Prominent journalists and activists raised the issue of Punia's arrest on Twitter, demanding that he be freed from police custody.
The police should release Mandeep Punia immediately and stop intimidating and harassing journalists. Mandeep interned with @thewire_in a couple of years back and rural reporting is his passion. https://t.co/AUYyfxKYjW
— Siddharth (@svaradarajan) January 30, 2021
Just not done.
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.
Release Mandeep Punia immediately. pic.twitter.com/CQmheGqAU4
— Yogendra Yadav (@_YogendraYadav) January 30, 2021
Solidarity with Mandeep Punia. Is he ok ? https://t.co/3W0fPEOVGW
— Rana Ayyub (@RanaAyyub) January 31, 2021
Release Mandeep Punia and Dharmender Singh immediately https://t.co/XwxbCD6jtP
— Rohini Singh (@rohini_sgh) January 30, 2021
The Delhi Police has filed cases against several journalists covering the two-month-long farmers' protest since the violence that broke out on Republic Day. Politicians like Congress MP Shashi Tharoor have also been booked for various charges, including sedition.
On Saturday, the Delhi Police filed a case against senior journalist Rajdeep Sardesai, The Caravan magazine, and Tharoor for allegedly misleading the public about the death of a protester at the ITO during the violence on Republic Day. The case has been registered at the IP Estate police station under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code, PTI reported.
Earlier in the week, six journalists were booked by the Noida Police for sedition, among other charges, over the violence during farmers' tractor rally. The FIR was lodged at the Sector 20 police station in Noida following a complaint by a resident who alleged that "digital broadcast" and "social media posts" by these people were responsible for the violence.
The journalists named in the FIR are Mrinal Pande, Rajdeep Sardesai, Vinod Jose, Zafar Agha, Paresh Nath and Anant Nath. An unidentified person has also been named in the FIR.
With inputs from PTI
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