IJU expresses concern on assault and killing of journalists in UP

TMB Report

IMPHAL: The Indian Journalists Union has expressed serious concern over the killing of Vikram Joshi of Jana Sagar Today and two other fresh cases of attacks involving journalists in the past 48 hours columnist, blogger and environmentalist Rajiv Nayan Bahuguna in Uttarakhand, and Dilnawaz Pasha of BBC, both in Uttar Pradesh.

In a revised statement IJU said that in UP notorious for attacks against journalists, Vikram Joshi who succumbed to his injuries on the morning of Wednesday was shot in the head at Ghaziabad on Sunday night by some men, following his filing a police complaint regarding his niece being harassed by a group of men.

Joshi was travelling with his two daughters on his motorcycle when he was assaulted and fired upon. The incident has been captured on CCTV and police have arrested nine, including three main accused. However, as the police failed to act promptly on Joshi’s complaint against the group of men, an inquiry was ordered and the police station in-charge and Sub-Inspector suspended with immediate effect.

Son of environmentalist Padmavibhushan Sunder Lal Bahuguna, Rajiv Nayan who is critical of BJP and RSS on his Facebook account, was attacked by goons after he complained about getting threatening calls lately. In his FB post, his face is swollen and left eye bruised and he has accused the RSS for the attack stating he is ‘not afraid of them, and would continue to carry out his campaign against them. Bahuguna is associated with Nav Bharat Times, Dinman, Hindustan Hindi, Outlook and other national dailies and periodicals and had joined his father’s movement against construction of Tehri Dam in the State.

In another incident, BBC correspondent Dilnawaz Pasha did face ire of cops, who were initially not aware of his identity’. In his Facebook account, Pasha says he had gone to Bahjoi police station, Sambhal district to gather information of an individual detained. He did so in his individual capacity and did not disclose he was a BBC correspondent. The moment he started asking questions, the cops snatched his phone, detained him for six hours and ‘misbehaved with him. However, once they saw his identity card, they ‘sought forgiveness’ and when top administration leant of the incident, they contacted him and asked him to file a case/complaint against the policemen. But he has chosen not to do so.

In a statement, IJU president and former member, Press Council of India, Geetartha Pathak and Secretary General and IFJ vice-president Sabina Inderjit said there is no letting up on journalists being targeted and demanded a judicial inquiry into the killing of Vikram Joshi and a severest punishment for Joshi’s killers and attacks on Bahuguna. JU leaders also urged that police be sensitized against harassing citizens and journalists, as Pasha’s case reveals. The lJU fears that increasing attacks on media freedom and media rights in the country will endanger democracy and make space for authoritarian forces.

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