NEW DELHI, Oct 7: The Indian Journalists Union (IJU) has questioned the Uttar Pradesh government’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 clearly attacks on the freedom of the press, and the IJU demands that the government initiate an inquiry and take action against the police personnel,” it said in a statement issued on Wednesday.
Rizvi was brutally beaten up by the police 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.
“The IJU joins Rizvi in demanding that the principal information secretary and both DC and DM take action against the cops involved,” it said.
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 Geetartha Pathak and secretary-general 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.