Media assault in Rampal case: 2 cops arrested

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Hisar, Feb 8: Haryana police have arrested two cops for allegedly assaulting media personnel who were covering a stand-off between authorities and self-styled 'godman' Rampal in November last year, police said today.

The two constables - Dharampal and Chander Singh - were arrested yesterday and later released on bail by a local court, police said.

Jail

The duo was arrested after they were recognised using canes on the media personnel without provocation in video footage of the episode, police said.

While Dharampal is employed with Haryana police and is posted at Bhiwani, Chander Singh is working with Para Military Force, police said.

The police action on journalists covering the stand-off between authorities and self-styled 'godman' Rampal was "unprovoked" and "pre-meditated", a media panel recently said, recommending a judicial probe into the incident.

The panel, set up by the Broadcast Editors' Association (BEA) to look into the incident, has recommended probe by a Supreme Court judge into the alleged assault by police on the journalists at Barwala in Hisar district in November last year.

In its report, the three-member committee had concluded that the police action against media persons was "unprovoked" and "pre-meditated".

It had said the police had acted against media persons as the authority did not want the use of force against women and kids to be recorded by the media and showing it on channels.

The BEA, a body with editors of leading news channels as its members, had constituted the panel shortly after the incident. In its report, the committee said that it had met Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, police officers, and also talked to the local villagers.

The report added it found that not only the victim journalists but also police officers were categorical in their assertions that there was no provocation from or causing of functional impediment from the side of media persons with regard to police operation.

The panel noted that it was the job of the media to cover the event. The media persons were subjected to lathi charge when the operation by the para-military forces had hardly begun.

"This attack was not confined to one place but all over the area. The policemen started beating the hapless reporters, cameramen and other scribes mercilessly. The camera or I-cards shown by the media did not deter them from the sordid act. Rather it was taken by the police as a sign of identification for hitting," it said.

Meanwhile, Haryana police said that it had registered around 15 cases in different sections of IPC on complaints by various media organisations and these cases were investigated and verified.

PTI

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