In a video that has gone viral, it can be seen that two police officials in plain clothes are beating Sharma and even verbally abusing him. Not stopping there, they even purportedly urinated in his mouth. The incident took place the previous night when he was shooting the derailment of a goods train in Shamli.
As reported in the NDTV, Amit Sharma, a stringer for TV channel News24, said “They were in plain clothes. One hit my camera and it fell down. When I picked it up, they hit and abused me. I was locked up, stripped and they urinated in my mouth.”
Several local journalists rushed to the police station on learning about the incident and reportedly contacted senior officials at the police headquarters after which Sharma was released this morning. Sharma has also alleged that one of the personnel, GRP Shamli, Rakesh Kumar, had a grudge against him due to a previous story covered by him. Coming out of the lock up, Sharma said, “10 to 15 days ago, I had done a story on them. The mobile phone that they snatched from me had the footage of the story.”
Uttar Pradesh police has taken cognisance of this incident and have suspended the two accused. The UP police tweeted, “We have come across a video where a journalist has been beaten up & put up in a lock up. DGP UP OP Singh has ordered for immediate suspension of SHO GRP Shamli Rakesh Kumar & Const. Sanjay Pawar. Stricter punishment shall be accorded to policemen misbehaving with citizens.”
This unfortunate incident comes just a few days after another journalist, Prashant Kanojia, was arrested by the UP police for allegedly defaming the UP CM, Yogi Adityanath. Yesterday, the Supreme Court granted him bail.
Freedom of speech and the press forms the basis of any democracy. Lately, these freedoms appear to be under grave threat!