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Several journalists injured in police attack in Haryana, India

Police detain a supporter of Satguru Rampalji Maharaj, a self-styled
Police detain a supporter of Satguru Rampalji Maharaj, a self-styled "godman", during a protest outside the ashram of Rampal in Hisar in the northern Indian state of Haryana, 18 November 2014

REUTERS/Stringer

This statement was originally published on ifj.org on 24 November 2014.

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate the National Union of Journalists, India (NUJI) in condemning the police atrocities on journalists at Barwala, Hisar in the Haryana state, in north-eastern India on November 18, 2014.

According to reports, a score of media persons covering the stand-off and clash between security forces and followers of controversial sect leader Rampal were injured as police carried out an unprovoked attack on journalists. Cameras and equipment of photojournalists and television stations were damaged and broken in the attack.

Eighty-six journalists were camped outside the Ashram of Rampal filming the violent clashes with the permission of the Director General of Police (DGP), Haryana when the attack took place.

The DGP, S N Vashisht, had conceded that journalists were beaten up and that the matter would be investigated. Three First Information Reports (FIRs) have been registered with the police in connection with the attack while the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) issued notice to the DGP calling for a report on the matter within two weeks.

The Press Council of India (PCI) strongly condemned the attack and formed a fact-finding committee to report on the attack. The Committee had met Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and raised the issue.

The NUJI vice-president Sanjay Rathee said in a statement: "This is highly condemnable act of the police and an attack on the fourth state of the nation."

The IFJ and the NUJI urge the Indian government to immediately investigate the incident and punish those responsible for the beating of journalists.

Jane Worthington, the acting director of the IFJ Asia-Pacific said: "It's a journalists' right to film and cover incidents in the public interest. The police atrocities on journalists performing their duties are a matter of serious concern that need immediate investigation."

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
What other IFEX members are saying
  • Indian journalist killed in car accident

    IFJ is saddened by the death of Shivam Bhatt, a journalist with India's Zee News TV in a car accident on November 20 in Barwala, Haryana, India. . . Bhatt was on assignment and was covering the arrest of controversial Indian preacher Rampal, who was arrested in connection to a 2006 murder case, when the incident took place.



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