The Quint Seeks Action Against Delhi Cops for Assault on Reporter
Kshitij Kumar was assaulted and detained by the Delhi Police for covering the Kathputli Colony demolition drive.
In a grave violation of his constitutional rights, a journalist from The Quint was wrongfully restrained while on assignment. The Delhi Development Authority on Monday carried out a demolition drive at the Kathputli colony in Shadipur, causing an enraged mob to stir violence. Kshitij Kumar, The Quint reporter was at the site to cover the eviction – the fundamental duty of a journalist.
However, in a flagrant violation of the law, Kumar was arbitrarily and wrongfully taken into preventive detention by the Delhi Police.
Despite Kumar informing the police and showing them his media ID at the Ranjith Nagar police station that he was a journalist, his plea to be freed was disregarded.
Condemning the police’s illegal and unethical treatment, The Quint has penned a complaint to Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Commissioner of Delhi Police Amulya Patnaik and Lt Governor of Delhi Anil Baijal demanding appropriate action against the police officers concerned.
Kumar was physically assaulted and confined by the police for more than six hours. That left him with injuries to his throat and swelling on his hands. Despite his repeated inquiries, he wasn’t informed of the reasons for his arrest – an offence under Section 50(1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973.
During this time, his phone was confiscated, and he was not allowed to inform anyone about his whereabouts.
In fact, the SHO of the police station repeatedly lied to members of The Quint, who were trying to locate Kumar, that he wasn’t present at the station – something that’s not only morally wrong, but points to a shocking procedural lapse on behalf of the police.
The Quint has asked for an official apology on record to Kumar from the Ministry of Home Affairs, under whose authority the Delhi police operate, and an acknowledgment of the illegality of the Delhi police’s behaviour towards him, as well as punishment of the police officers and constables responsible.
That this treatment was meted out to Kumar, who was at no point even accused of any crime, is egregious. If journalists (or any other citizens for that matter) cannot go about their business, lawfully exercising their fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression, then there has been a drastic and unconscionable breakdown of the rule of law.
It is not uncommon these days that journalists find themselves in news. There’s a need to adequately protect their constitutional rights. One of the steps towards that could be formulating guidelines to be followed by the police when dealing with journalists reporting on contentious issues.
(The Quint is available on Telegram. For handpicked stories every day, subscribe to us on Telegram)
Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.