What you need to know:
- A journalist was beaten up in Uttar Pradesh for covering the derailment of a train.
- In the graphic video that went viral online, Sharma is being beaten, slapped and punched by railway personnel.
- This comes a day after another Indian journalist was arrested and released on bail for posting tweets against a chief minister.
Dubai: Another day, another attack on a journalist. In India, a journalist in Shamli, Uttar Pradesh (UP) was beaten up, abused on camera, and allegedly urinated upon, by a group of police officers.
The journalist has been identified as Amit Sharma, who works for an Indian broadcast channel News24.
In the graphic video that went viral online, Sharma is being beaten, slapped and punched by railway personnel as he pleads with them to stop. Police officers are present however, they make no effort to try and shield or protect Sharma from those assaulting him.
The video was uploaded by Asian News International (ANI) UP, and had more than 190,000 views.
This incident comes a day after journalist Prashant Kanojia was released on bail after he was arrested for “defaming” tweets against Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
According to a report by Indian broadcast channel NDTV, the journalist was thrashed by Railway police personnel, who locked him up, when he was covering the derailment of a train in the Shamli district.
The report quoted him saying: “They were in plain clothes. One hit my camera and it fell down. When I picked it up, they hit and abused me. I was locked up, stripped and they urinated in my mouth.”
Sharma was locked up in a police station in Shamli for the night and according to the report, Government Railway Police (GRP) personnel took his camera and snatched his phone.
On hearing about the incident, many local journalists rushed to the police station and uploaded the graphic video of Sharma being beaten up, on social media. Some journalists even uploaded videos of Sharma behind bars, narrating the ordeal, in front of the accused inspector, Rakesh Kumar.
Sharma was released this morning after protests from other journalists escalated.
Social media reactions
The incident left social media users outraged. They questioned the current ruling government and asked if India was no longer a country for journalists?
Tweep @Ajju_Rawtani said: “#letscallout the person who has taken up a new job of ensuring journalist bashing, Jailing by excessive and illegal use of government machinery @myogiadityanath.”
Member of Parliament, politician Kapil Sibal also expressed his disdain on twitter. He said: “Journalist Amit Sharma abused, then thrashed by railway cops and finally urinated in his mouth for covering the train derailment at Shamli (UP). Enforcers of the law are its biggest violators! What about: Sabka saath, sabka vikas, sabka vishvas! (With everyone together, everyone will progress).”
@RoshanKrRai posted: “...this poor journalist was brutally thrashed by Yogi’s police just for doing his job. These goons should be suspended and punished.”
Uttar Pradesh Police (@Uppolice) tweeted about the incident and said: “We have come across a video where a journalist has been beaten up and put up in a lock-up. Director General of Police (DGP) of Uttar Pradesh O. P. Singh has ordered for immediate suspension of ... Rakesh Kumar and constable Sanjay Pawar. Strict punishment shall be accorded to policemen misbehaving with citizens.”
This is not the first time a journalist in India has been abused or arrested. While journalist Prashant Kanojia was arrested for tweeting against Yogi Adityanath this week, in 2018, journalist Santosh Thammaiah was arrested for “hurting religious sentiments” of people.
There have been 149 cases registered against various people for posting remarks against Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on social media.
Do you think journalists are safe in India? What is your opinion on the recent attacks on Indian journalists? Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.