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DUJ, IWPC, PCI Demand Probe Into Woman Scribe’s ‘Harassment’ by Police in Jantar Mantar

Independent journalist Sakshi Joshi said she was subjected to rough treatment by Delhi Police while covering the wrestlers’ protest.

Representational use only.

New Delhi: In the early hours of May 4, a woman journalist, Sakshi Joshi, was ‘manhandled’ while covering the protests by award-winning wrestlers at Jantar Mantar. The wrestlers have been sitting on a dharna since April 23, protesting against sexual harassment charges against the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh and demanding his arrest.

According to reports, Joshi was physically prevented by male policemen of the Delhi Police from talking to the wrestlers and was then subjected to rough treatment by women police officers, which resulted in her clothes getting torn. She was detained and later released.

Joshi has sent a complaint to Delhi Police Commissioner Sanjay Arora demanding an inquiry against the erring police personnel and punishment.

Condemning the incident, the Indian Women's Press Corps (IWPC) and Press Club of India (PCI), in a joint statement, demanded a probe into the matter. They have urged strict action against the erring police personnel for the treatment meted out to a woman journalist on assignment.

The incident has raised concerns about the safety of journalists covering protests and the need for proper training of police personnel in dealing with the media, the statement read.

The IWPC and PCI also called for greater sensitivity and accountability on the part of the police toward journalists, especially women, who often face harassment and violence while on assignment.

The incident has also highlighted the need for a safe and secure environment for journalists to carry out their work without fear of reprisal or harassment. The authorities must take appropriate action to ensure that such incidents do not recur in the future, they said.

“The IWPC and PCI demand a probe into the matter and urge strict action against the erring police personnel for their treatment of a woman journalist on assignment,” a joint press statement by the two organisations read.

The National Alliance of Journalists (NAJ) and the Delhi Union of Journalists (DUJ) also slammed the attack on the journalist and called for a suo motu enquiry by the Press Council of India.

“Ms. Joshi has made public video footage of how she was not allowed to speak to the wrestlers and was dragged away from the barricades set up by the police at midnight on May 4, 2023. She has stated that her clothes were torn, and she was forcibly taken to the Mandir Marg police station, where she was detained till nearly 2 a.m. before being set free. Several reporters and citizens were also refused entry to the Jantar Mantar site. The Chair of the Delhi Commission for Women, Ms  Swati Maliwal, was forcibly removed from the place,” the statement read.

The organisations believe that citizens have a right to protest, and journalists have every right to cover such protests. “Moves to barricade the site and stop such activities are attacks on democracy, free speech and action,” the statement read.

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