Pune: Two journalists were arrested by the Palghar police on Saturday, who alleged that the journalists assaulted a Police Sub Inspector (PSI) on duty and obstructed him from carrying out his duty.
The journalists were apparently following a story of a skirmish that took place two days back between the Palghar police and dacoits in the Waghoba ghat area of Thane.
The dacoits were allegedly harassing and looting passengers passing on the ghat section. The Palghar police sent a task force to tackle them, after which there was a firefight between the dacoits and the police. One dacoit was injured and arrested after the skirmish.
“While the dacoit was being brought in, video journalist Hussain Khan was filming the dacoit and the policemen. PSI Sayyed of the Palghar police took objection to this. Revealing the identity of the dacoit creates issues for the identification parade, as the court considers it manipulated,” said Pramod Pawar, Chief Control Officer at Palghar police station.
“When Khan refused to stop filming, the PSI lowered his camera with his hand and Khan started quarrelling. Khan then proceeded to grab the policeman’s collar and threatened him verbally.
“The other journalist, Ram Parmar, intervened and threatened the policeman, claiming he will take action against him,” Pawar said, adding, “First we tried to settle the incident mutually, but the journalists returned the next day and spoke rudely, after which a complaint under section 353 (obstruction of duty of a government employee) was filed. Both were arrested and have received MCR.”
“This is a ridiculous action by the Palghar police. The journalists were doing their job and had gone to the police station to get some information related to the firing incident.
“The police, acting high handedly, arrested them. Such an incident happening so near to Mumbai is shocking,” said senior journalist Jatin Desai, who joined many others from the fraternity in the outrage that the incident has sparked, adding, “These were responsible and experienced journalists, not amateurs.”
As demand for action against the Palghar police for arresting the journalists mounted, Congress veteran and Vidhan Sabha Opposition leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil wrote to the Chief Minister to look into the matter.
His letter mentioned that a case of late filing of charges in an exchange of fire incident is serious and the journalist being arrested for asking questions about it is unfortunate.
The letter demands an in-depth enquiry and action against District Police Superintendent Manjunath Singe.