News website The Quint on Wednesday alleged that the Delhi Police wrongfully took one of its reporters into preventive detention on Monday while he was covering the demolition of hutments in the city’s Kathputli Colony (pictured above). In a letter addressed to Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik and Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, The Quint has demanded action against the police officers concerned.
Police officers physically assaulted Kshitij Kumar and confiscated his phone after they detained him for more than six hours, the website has claimed. “That left him with injuries to his throat and swelling on his hands,” it said in a statement. “Despite his repeated inquiries, he wasn’t informed of the reasons for his arrest – an offence under Section 50 (1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973.”
The Quint said when it tried to reach out to the Delhi Police to locate Kumar, the station house officer of the Ranjith Nagar Police Station said the reporter was not there. “This points to a shocking procedural lapse on behalf of the police,” The Quint said in its statement.
The news website has asked for an apology from the Home Ministry, under which the Delhi Development Authority operates, and has demanded punishment for the police officers and constable responsible for the reporter’s detention.
In a blog, Kumar claimed that two officials of the Delhi Development Authority had tried to snatch his phone from him when he was reporting the demolition. After he resisted, he claimed they directed the police to take him away.
On Tuesday, the Delhi High Court stayed the demolition of huts in the colony, a day after the Delhi Development Authority razed 500 structures. A family in the colony alleged that their two-year-old child had died after authorities fired tear gas shells during the demolition. “He could not breathe properly after the police used tear gas shells in the afternoon,” the boy’s mother alleged.