‘Democracy Changing to Dictatorship?’ Bajrang Slams Journo Arrest
The Indian wrestler has questioned the arrest of journalist Mandeep Punia, who was covering the farmers’ protest.
One of the world’s best wrestlers and India’s biggest shot at a medal in wrestling at the Tokyo Olympics this summer, Bajrang Punia has spoken out against the arrest of journalist Mandeep Punia.
‘The same Supreme Court that held an emergency hearing for Arnab (Goswami) is now silent on the arrest of Manpreet Punia. Think about it, this is not correct for a democracy. Journalists’ voice should not be silenced like this. Why is a democracy being changed into a dictatorship? Listen to the farmer’s voice, don’t suppress it,’ tweeted Bajrang
On Saturday, 30 January, the Delhi Police had detained Punia from the Singhu border, claiming that he “misbehaved” with a station house officer (SHO) on duty, The Indian Express reported.
Mandeep Punia, who is a freelancer with The Caravan, was on an assignment to cover the ongoing farmers’ protest at Singhu. According to the report, as he was moving through barricades he was picked up a group of policemen forcibly along with another journalist Dharmender Singh.
A video shared online purportedly shows Punia being manhandled with policemen wielding lathis. The police claimed that Punia was detained for trying to dismantle the barricades.
A Delhi court on Sunday, 31 January, sent Punia – arrested on charges of causing assault, injury and obstruction to security forces at the Singhu border – to 14 days judicial custody, the scribe’s legal team told The Quint.
Prior to the hearing, Additional DCP-I, Jitendra Kumar Meena, who is looking after the charge of DCP, Outer North, had said that Punia has been slapped with IPC Sections 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions), 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to any person being a public servant in the discharge of his duty), 353( Assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), and 34 (Acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention.)
The Quint spoke to Punia’s wife on Sunday as she questioned how a single person could impede the work of over fifty policemen.
Leela Shree asserted that although Punia was slated to appear before the court at 2 pm on Sunday, the police had ushered him in within the court premises at 1:30 pm, causing the proceeding to begin even before the scribe’s lawyers could arrive.
“Although he was asked to appear before the court at 2 pm, the police ushered him in at 1:30 and he exited the court at 1:55, just five minutes after our lawyer went inside. Why couldn’t they wait till 2 pm, when that was the designated time?”Leela Shree, Punia’s wife.
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