Journalists protest over no FIR against cop ‘molesting’ reporter

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New Delhi, March 24 (IANS) Over 100 journalists protested here on Saturday, as the Delhi Police failed to register an FIR into an alleged molestation of a woman reporter of an English national daily by a police officer.

With about a 150-strong crowd of journalists and police surrounding her, the woman reporter, who was allegedly molested, looked at a top Delhi Police officer to ask: “Why are you not registering an FIR?”

She was allegedly molested during a student protest which she was covering on Friday evening.

Also, no FIR has been filed into the complaint of another women photojournalist, Anushree Fadnavis, of being manhandled by women police personnel and her camera being taken away by police during the same student’s protest.

She was yet to receive her camera back.

Special Commissioner of Police and Delhi Police’s Chief Spokesperson Dependra Pathak told media that they have ordered a vigilance inquiry into the molestation complaint and “strict action” would be taken and sought two day’s time.

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He also said that about 40 policemen were injured in Friday’s protest.

Meanwhile, citing police inaction, the group of journalists protested outside the Delhi Police Headquarters at ITO in central Delhi, demanding an FIR into the molestation and strict action in both cases.

Pathak told IANS that a separate FIR has not been registered into the molestation case, but said that on Friday night, police have filed an FIR into the student protest which turned violent.

Asked why a separate FIR has not been registered into the molestation case, despite one into the protest, he said: “The FIR which has been registered was into the whole incident of the student protest and a vigilance inquiry was underway.”

Asked whether a separate FIR would be registered after the inquiry, he said that “it would be decided after the vigilance inquiry”.

During the journalists’ protest, the women journalist who was allegedly molested came face to face with Pathak and asked him why an FIR has not yet been registered into the incident.

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The reporter, who alleged that she was molested by SHO Vidhyadhar Singh, told IANS that Singh had apologised to her after the incident.

“Just after the incident when my friend and I confronted him (Singh) and asked him how he can behave like he did, he said that I was lying.

“Later when IPS officers intervened, he came and apologised to me,” she said.

The reporter said that she along with a male reporter were standing on a service road at the Friday’s protest site, when the SHO first came and pushed them by their shoulders.

“We said that we are journalists and he took his hands off. We walked to the side and was filming the protest,” she said. “He then came back and looked at my chest. Then he pushed me by my chest.”

“The police man groped her after saying she was a journalist,” Raja Lakshmi, Vice President of Indian Women’s Press Corps, which had given the call for the protest, told IANS. “The SHO should be suspended pending inquiry.”

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On the incident of Fadnavis being manhandled and her camera being taken away, Pathak said that “they were yet to trace the camera” and “it was not with police”.

But Fadnavis told IANS that her camera was snatched by a woman police personnel, while she was trying to take the photo of police stamping a protestor.

“The police (men) asked women police to ‘take me away’ and also ‘break my camera’,” Fadnavis said. She said that a women police personnel then snatched the camera from her hand.

“They (police) told me that I would get my camera back once the crowd is dispersed. Even Madhur Verma (police spokesperson) told me that,” she said.

DCP Romil Baaniya was investigating into Fadnavis’ complaint of manhandling and missing camera.

–IANS

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