New Delhi, May 2, 2017—Indian authorities should identify and discipline New Delhi police officers who assaulted journalist Meghnad Bose yesterday, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Bose, a reporter with The Quint, a news website, was broadcasting a Facebook Live video outside the city’s Jamia Milia Islamia University, where Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was receiving an honorary doctorate, when police assaulted Bose, the journalist said.
“Authorities should swiftly discipline the police officers responsible for assaulting Meghnad Bose simply for doing his job,” CPJ Asia Program Director Steven Butler said from Washington, D.C. “The police should train officers to protect the legal activities of journalists, and not to harass them.”
Bose told CPJ that he and his colleague, Aqib Raza Khan, were about to finish the broadcast with students and alumni at around 5 p.m. when police asked them to move into the campus. Security guards at the university gates would not let them enter, he said.
“At that point a Delhi Police officer comes in from behind and gives me a tight slap on the face,” Bose told CPJ. “Three other cops held me, pushed me inside the gates and pulled me towards the vehicle. The officer again comes in from behind and slaps me thrice on my face.”
Police confiscated the mobile phone from which the Facebook Live video was being broadcast and his colleague’s personal mobile phone, Bose added.
Bose said police detained the two in a police van for roughly 30 minutes, then took them to the Jamia Nagar police station.
At the police station, officers tried to “normalize and trivialize the situation…An inspector said, ‘Think of it as if a father was beating his son. It is good for experience. Nothing personal against you.’”
Police returned their phones to the pair and released them soon after. After fellow journalists reported the incident on Twitter, Romil Baaniya, a deputy commissioner of police, called Bose to say that “whatever happened was wrong,” Bose told CPJ.
Baaniya did not respond to CPJ’s phone calls seeking comment, and no one responded to CPJ’s phone calls to the New Delhi Police’s public relations office.
Police in February beat journalists covering a fight between rival student groups outside Delhi University’s Ramjas College, CPJ reported at the time. Police in January 2016 beat an independent photojournalist covering protests for The Caravan magazine, the photographer told CPJ.