The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate the National Union of Journalists, India (NUJI) in condemning the police atrocities on journalists at Barwala, Hisar in the Haryana state, in north-eastern India on November 18.
According to reports, a score of media persons covering the stand-off and clash between security forces and followers of controversial sect leader Rampal were injured as police carried out an unprovoked attack on journalists. Cameras and equipment of photojournalists and television stations were damaged and broken in the attack.
Eighty-six journalists were camped outside the Ashram of Rampal filming the violent clashes with the permission of the Director General of Police (DGP), Haryana when the attack took place.
The DGP, S N Vashisht, had conceded that journalists were beaten up and that the matter would be investigated. Three First Information Reports (FIRs) have been registered with the police in connection with the attack while the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) issued notice to the DGP calling for a report on the matter within two weeks.
The Press Council of India (PCI) strongly condemned the attack and formed a fact-finding committee to report on the attack. The Committee had met Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and raised the issue.
The NUJI vice-president Sanjay Rathee said in a statement: “This is highly condemnable act of the police and an attack on the fourth state of the nation.”
The IFJ and the NUJI urge the Indian government to immediately investigate the incident and punish those responsible for the beating of journalists.
Jane Worthington, the acting director of the IFJ Asia-Pacific said: “It’s a journalists’ right to film and cover incidents in the public interest. The police atrocities on journalists performing their duties are a matter of serious concern that need immediate investigation.”
For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0950
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