Four railway policemen, including a station house officer, were booked for allegedly beating up a journalist in Uttar Pradesh's Shamli district, an official said Thursday, 13 June.
In the latest incident of police action against journalists in Uttar Pradesh, a local reporter covering the derailment of a goods train in the state's Shamli district was thrashed by a unit of the Government Railway Police (GRP) on Tuesday, 11 June.
The police registered a case under sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) pertaining to causing hurt, insult, robbery and wrongful confinement, GRP Superintendent of Police Subhash Chand Dubey said.
A video of the incident shows the GRP personnel, dressed in plain clothes, beat up the journalist – identified as Amit Sharma of Hindi news channel News 24 – who was reportedly covering a goods train derailment near Dhimpaura.
Meanwhile, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath held a review meeting on the law and order situation in the state on Wednesday.
Regarding the incident, the journalist, Amit Sharma, was quoted by ANI as saying:
"“They were in plain clothes. One hit my camera and it fell down. When I picked it up they hit and abused me. I was locked up, stripped and they urinated in my mouth.”"
The police officers seen in the video – Station House Officer (SHO) Rakesh Kumar and constable Sanjay Pawar – were suspended following the incident.
We have come across a video where a journalist has been beaten up & put up in a lock up. DGP UP OP Singh has ordered for immediate suspension of SHO GRP Shamli Rakesh Kumar & Const. Sanjay Pawar.— UP POLICE (@Uppolice) June 12, 2019
Strict punishment shall be accorded to policemen misbehaving with citizens.
Why Was Sharma Beaten Up?
Speaking to The Quint, Sharma alleged that he was thrashed over an earlier story he had covered which exposed corruption in the GRP forces.
"“On 11 May, we ran a story on how the GRP police was taking hafta from the unauthorised vendors on the Delhi-Saharanpur train in return for allowing them to operate on the route, despite it being illegal. They were getting close to Rs 1.5 lakh per month from this exercise.”"
He added that his channel News24 would run the story again on 12 June as well, in the aftermath of the action taken against him.
‘Cops Abused Me in Lock-Up’: Journo
Later, speaking to local channels from within the GRP station premises, where he was locked up, Sharma alleged that the personnel seized his mobile phone which contained all of coverage on the Railways.
He further alleged that he was beaten up over the course of his coverage of the derailment.
"A lot of police personnel were present, one or two were dressed in civil clothes. They beat me up all the way from where the accident occurred to the station, which is located almost 200 metres away from the spot. They also abused me and locked me up," he said.
Sharma, who was bailed out by two fellow journalists on 12 June, also told The Quint that a protest was being staged outside the police station by media personnel that adequate action and inquiry be taken against the police personnel.
The derailment of the goods train reportedly occured after two coaches of the train slid off the track near Dhimpaur. According to reports, the derailment has affected train traffic on the Shamli-Saharanpur line.
‘Everything Possible in UP’: Several Condemn Attack on Twitter
Several people, including journalists, have taken to Twitter to condemn the Shamli incident.
"Urinated In My Mouth": UP Journalist Thrashed By Railway Cops On Video. This is Yogi Adityanath's message for journalists critical of him https://t.co/DgG9aHsqre— Rana Ayyub (@RanaAyyub) June 12, 2019
पत्रकार से नाराज़ एक GRP इन्स्पेक्टर उसे सरेआम पीट सकता है, लॉक अप में डाल कर उसके मुँह में पेशाब कर सकता है. फिर मीडिया के सामने बैठ कर इतरा भी सकता है. UP में सब मुमकिन है @myogiadityanath @yadavakhilesh @Mayawati @priyankagandhi @RahulGandhi pic.twitter.com/nvCVSwxwyJ— Manak Gupta (@manakgupta) June 12, 2019
The shameless DG of police must step down. @Uppolice you guys have been acting as state sponsored goons: arresting, beating people up, intimidating journalists. Never seen a more ghoonda police force under an incompetent CM @myogiadityanath .who will invest in UP. https://t.co/ToNyg5zxDW— Tehseen Poonawalla (@tehseenp) June 12, 2019
“They urinated in my mouth,” the journalist said afterwards.— Rajini Vaidyanathan (@BBCRajiniV) June 12, 2019
A disturbing claim, about a disturbing attack.
Police officers are meant to keep everyone safe.
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