Assault on Caravan reporter and detention of Odisha journalist impinge on freedom of press: IJU

20 October 2020

On 16 October, Delhi Police assaulted The Caravan’s staffer Ahan Penkar while he was reporting in North Delhi. ACP Ajay Kumar kicked & slapped him inside the Model Town station premises. Penkar has sustained injuries on his nose, his shoulder, his back and his ankle. He repeatedly told the police that he was a journalist and prominently displayed his press ID. The police forcibly took his phone from him and then deleted all the videos he had recorded while reporting. Penkar was detained for nearly four hours. 

Penkar was reporting on a protest concerning the alleged rape and murder of a Dalit teenager in North Delhi. Students and activists had gathered outside the Model Town police station to demand the registration of an FIR in the case. Penkar has filed a complaint to SN Shrivastava, Delhi’s commissioner of police, regarding the assault on him. 

The Indian Journalists Union has released a statement condemning the attack and demanding immediate action. The statement is reproduced below. Read The Caravan’s report on the attack here.

Chandigarh, October 20: The Indian Journalists Union (IJU) strongly condemned the Delhi police brutality on The Caravan magazine reporter Ahan Penkar and detention of Odisha TV (OTV) senior journalist Ramesh Rath by the Odisha police while discharging their professional duty.

The North Delhi Model Town Assistant Commissioner of Police Ajay Kumar detained and assaulted Ahan Penkar while he was reporting on students and activists protest demanding registration of FIR on the rape and murder of a teenager in North Delhi on 17 October.  The Caravan magazine alleged that the ACP slapped and kicked the reporter inside the Model Town police station.

The Bhubaneswar police detained Ramesh Rath, a senior journalist working with Odisha TV (OTV) on 16 October for reporting on Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik's non-serious aerial survey of the flood-ravaged parts of the state lasting for a mere 19 minutes.