JNU Row : Journalists seethe in anger over thrashing of colleagues under police watch

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Journalist protest : Vijay Pandey
Journalists protest march against attack outside Patiala House court Photo : Vijay Pandey

Raising slogans such as “Delhi police down down” and “Modi sarkar, come to your senses”, large number of journalists marched from Press Club of India to the Supreme Court waving placards and clinched fists. When when arrested JNUSU presdent Kanhaiya Kumar was presented at the Patiala court , a group of lawyers had assaulted JNU students, faculty and journalists. Many journalists, including women were beaten up as the Delhi police stood and watched.
Azan Javed, who works with DNA newspaper was assaulted as his beard supposedly made him look like a ”Kashmiri terrorist”. The mob of around 40 people surrounded Meenakshi from CNN IBN. “A female lawyer threatened to slap me,” she says. Javed says the mob called the woman journalists prostitutes . The mob was not just targetting JNU students but journalists also deliberately. “They asked what if you are journalists you print terrorist news,” he says.

The police stood by watching as the lawyers thrashed JNU students and anyone who looked like them. Amit Pandey of IBN 7 was badly beaten by around 10 people. “When we were taking pictures of this the goons threatened to break our phones and our bones,” says Sonal of NDTV. “I was shouting at the police for help. They just asked us to leave. Some of them were laughing,” she says.

Little wonder then, that most of the slogans were directed at Delhi police commissioner BS Bassi. A delegation of journalists met home minister Rajnath Singh and submitted a memorandum seeking action against the assailants.

Some lawyers also turned up at the march and extended solidarity to the journalists. “The attack yesterday by one wachdog of democracy against another, was an ani-national one. We are happy that the Bar Council of India has taken cognisance of the matter and instituted a high court level enquiry,” says advocate Kapir Dikshit. “Such an attack on the freedom of press was last heard of only in the days of emergency. Some forces want to finish off journalism,” said SK Pande, general secretary, Dehi Union of Journalists.

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Photo : Vijay Pandey