The Press Club of India on Saturday condemned the alleged attack by the Delhi Police on a journalist of The Caravan inside the Model Town police station in the national Capital.
The Caravan said Ahan Penkar was attacked while he was reporting in North Delhi. Additional Commissioner of Police Ajay Kumar allegedly kicked and slapped Penkar inside the Model Town police station premises. Penkar sustained injuries to his nose, shoulder, back and ankle, the magazine said.
Penkar had been reporting on a protest against the alleged rape and murder of a Dalit teenager in North Delhi. Students and activists had gathered outside the Model Town Police Station demanding that a first information report be filed in the case.
Penkar was attacked even after he repeatedly showed the police his press ID and told them he was a journalist. The police also snatched his phone and deleted all the videos from it. The journalist has lodged a protest with Delhi Commissioner of Police SN Shrivastava in connection with the attack on him.
“The Press Club of India condemns senior officials of Delhi’s Model Town police station for physically preventing a young reporter of the well known journal Caravan from performing his duty but also physically thrashing him inside a room in the P.S., where he was taken under compulsion,” the Press Club statement read. “The PCI stands in full support of the journalist and urges the CP [commissioner of police] to do the right thing.”
The press club said the commissioner must suspend Kumar, who it called “hubris-filled, irresponsible and unfit to don the police uniform”. It also demanded an inquiry against his junior officer, referred to as “inspector”.
“The reporter was forced to go inside the station and thrashed very badly by a brute and the men in his command...The senior police officials deserve to be booked under various sections of IPC for brutally beating a journalist,” the Press Club of India said. “In addition, they deserve to be proceeded against for willful negligence.”
The Press Club said the incident was extremely shocking, coming on the back of the Hathras rape and murder. “The Delhi Police comes under the Union home ministry,” the organisation said. “In its eagerness to hush up rape and murder, and with barbarity beating a journalist in order to prevent the facts from being publicised, Delhi Police, in this disturbing incident, would appear to have exceeded the UP [Uttar Pradesh] Police in vileness.” The Press Club of India also asked the Delhi Commission for Women and the Delhi Human Rights Commission to take appropriate action.
“If the police show slackness in moving against their officers who take delight in taking the law in their own hands, the Press Club of India urges the Delhi High Court to take suo motu cognisance of this disgraced episode,” the organisation said.