A video has emerged of the Delhi Police roughing up a female photographer from the Hindustan Times during a march to Parliament, which students of the Jawaharlal Nehru University organised on Friday in protest against the administration’s policies.
A policeman allegedly assaulted a newspaper reporter, and a group of policewomen manhandled a Hindustan Times photographer and snatched her camera. The photojournalist could not retrieve the camera even hours after the incident.
“I was clicking photographs of a student being dragged when the police targeted me,” Anushree Fadnavis, the photojournalist, said. “They were talking about snatching and breaking my camera. I kept pleading with them to spare my camera.”
Delhi Police Spokesperson Madhur Verma denied that the police had used batons to disperse the students and teachers at the protest march. Dependra Pathak, who is the chief spokesperson for the police, said the Vigilance Department would investigate the case of alleged assault. He added that Fadnavis’ camera might have been mistakenly snatched because of confusion during the melee.
Pathak also claimed that the protestors did not have the permission to march till Parliament, and that the students had turned violent, broken barricades and assaulted the policemen on duty,” DNA quoted him as saying. “Forty-one personnel were hurt.”
The protestors, however, accused the Delhi Police of greeting them with water cannons and batons. “Several students, including female students, were beaten and bundled into a bus and were taken to the Defence Colony Police Station,” said Ayesha Kidwai, JNU professor and former president of the JNU Teachers’ Association.
JNU Students’ Union Vice President Simone Zoya Khan said the students had planned a peaceful, “historic long march”. “The police made it their agenda to shield a sexual harasser and beat up common students,” she said, according to The Indian Express. “They should be ashamed.”
The police halted the march near Delhi’s INA Market before using water cannons against the demonstrators. Students and teachers also accused the police of using batons against the protestors, injuring many and detaining a few of them.