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 Press Club of India 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.
For Favour of Publication
The Press Club of India condemns senior officials of Delhi's Model Town police station for physically preventing a young reporter of the well known journal Caravan from performing his duty but also physically thrashing him inside a room in the P.S., where he was taken under compulsion.
Mr A Penkar, the reporter in question has addressed a detailed complaint to the Commissioner of Police, Delhi, urging him to treat it as a FIR.
The PCI stands in full support of the journalist and urges the CP to do the right thing. Pending enquiry of Mr Penkar's very serious allegations against the named ACP (whom we are not naming in the interest of fair play), we call on the CP to suspend this hubris-filled, irresponsible, official who appears unfit to don the police uniform. Along with him, his junior official being addressed as "Inspector" also deserves to be enquired against. These two and the men working under them have disgraced the uniform.
They have blatantly prevented the reporter from carrying out his duty in a very sensitive matter. Mr. Penkar was present at Model Town PS on 16 Oct, 2020 afternoon to report on a public protest against the alleged rape and murder of a 14year old girl. The girl's aunt and others were present at the site.
The reporter was forced to go inside the station and thrashed very badly by a brute and the men in his command. His showing his journalist ID was of no avail. His mobile phone was forcibly taken from him and relevant images deleted.
The senior police officials deserve to be booked under various sections of IPC for brutally beating a journalist. In addition, they deserve to be proceeded against for wilful negligence. The protest at the PS was being staged to have a FIR registered in the rape and murder case, which occurred several days earlier.