The National Human Rights Commission on Friday issued a notice to the Uttar Pradesh director general of police and sought a report within next four weeks over the assault of a journalist who was covering the derailment of a goods train near Shamli city.
The journalist Amit Sharma, who works with Hindi television channel News24, alleged that he was dragged to the GRP station in Shamli where he was stripped and harassed by Government Railway Police personnel on Tuesday.
It said just a few hours after the Supreme Court ordered the release of a journalist Prashant Kanojia, another TV journalist was “brutally assaulted by the SHO of the Government Railway Police.”
The Commission took suo motu cognizance of media reports and said: “If true, amount to gross violation of the victim. Going by the reported allegations, this kind of cruel and uncivilized act by a public servant is highly disgraceful and cannot be tolerated in a civilized society.”
The notice also added that “stern action should be taken against the police personnel, if found guilty so that such barbaric act is not repeated by any public servant in the future.” The human rights body sought to know action taken against the guilty public servants along with the status of the FIR registered against them.
On Thursday, four Government Railway Police personnel were booked for beating Sharma. Police registered a case against the four GRP personnel for causing hurt, insult, robbery and wrongful confinement of the journalist, GRP Superintendent of Police (Moradabad) Subhash Chandra Dubey said. Dubey had also suspended Inspector Rakesh Kumar and Constable Sanjay Pawar on Wednesday.
The matter came to light after a video of the assault was widely shared on social media. In the video, Kumar can be seen slapping the journalist. His subordinates also assaulted the journalist and urinated in his mouth despite his repeated pleas. “They were in plain clothes,” said the journalist. “One hit my camera and it fell down. When I picked it up, they hit and abused me.”
The journalist was detained for a night. An order was issued to release him on Wednesday morning. In another video, the journalist can be seen narrating his ordeal from behind bars while Kumar sits on a chair and rejects all his charges.
It is not clear why the GRP personnel objected to the journalist covering the derailment.
The train accident took place near Dhimanpura in Shamli when two wagons of a goods train derailed around 8.50 pm on Tuesday. There were no casualties.
The assault triggered much outrage against the BJP-led State government as it came days after Journalist Prashant Kanojia was arrested from Delhi for his comments about Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath on social media.