‘Free Siddique Kappan Too’: Reporter Mandeep Punia on Leaving Jail
Mandeep Punia pointed out that reporting from ground zero is a very difficult task.
Video Editor: Deepthi Ramdas
Journalist Mandeep Punia, who was granted bail by a Delhi Court on Tuesday, 2 February, walked out of the Tihar Jail and asked the government to free other journalists, too.
“We are all reporters…I was stopped from doing my job. And there are multiple other reporters, too, who have been stopped from doing their job in the past.”
Mandeep Punia, then pointed out that reporting from ground zero is a very difficult task. He also sought the release of journalist Siddique Kappan.
“Siddique Kappan is also a reporter. He should also be freed from jail.”
Kappan has been under arrest since 5 October 2020, and was held while he was travelling to Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras to cover the alleged gang rape of a Dalit woman on the basis of a “tip about suspicious people”.
Punia urged the government to free other journalists facing incarceration and state repression, as well.
These sentiments, Punia also echoed on Twitter, where he wrote:
“I have been given bail and I am thankful to the honorable court but I should not have been arrested in the first place.”
“Kappan should be free, allowed to do his job. I have been observing kisan movement from day 1 and was pained to see how it was maligned and attacked by the media.”
Punia further shared that he had started working on a report from jail, taking down notes on his limbs.
“They put me in Tihar Jail. So I used the opportunity to write a report from Tihar Jail, where I had a chance to speak to incarcerated farmers.”
Punia also expressed gratitude to the Editors’ Guild of India, political parties and leaders who spoke up for his right to report.
Further, he thanked the court that granted him bail, and said that he has complete faith in the Constitution of India.
On Saturday, the Delhi Police had held Punia from the Singhu Border, claiming that he “misbehaved” with a station house officer (SHO) on duty, The Indian Express reported.
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 and was picked up by a group of policemen forcibly, along with another journalist Dharmender Singh.
A video shared online purportedly shows Punia being manhandled by policemen wielding lathis.
The police claimed that Punia was detained for trying to dismantle the barricades.
A Delhi Court on Sunday had sent the freelance journalist – arrested on charges of causing assault, injury and obstruction to security forces at the Singhu Border – to a 14-day judicial custody.
However, on Tuesday, 2 February, the court ordered Punia's release on furnishing a bail bond of Rs 25,000.
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