Attack on journalists: Katju demands action against policemen

 Condemning the Delhi police action against mediapersons during the protests at India gate on Sunday as a "flagrant attack on democracy", Press Council of India (PCI) chairperson Justice Markandey Katju today sought action against policemen who were responsible for it.

In a statement here, the former Supreme Court judge said that he strongly condemned the attack on journalists by the police in Delhi during the protests at India Gate and Rajpath against the gangrape of a 23-year-old.

"The journalists were only covering the events, which it is their fundamental right under the Constitution to do, and in fact that is their duty to the public. Many journalists were targeted by the police, their cameras broken, and many were physically assaulted," Katju said.

"This a flagrant attack on democracy in the country, and it is not an isolated incident. Many such incidents are coming to my knowledge from different parts of the country," he said.

Katju said that that though it is reported that some people in the crowds threw stones at the police, surely journalists did not throw stones.

"The police cannot take the plea that they could not distinguish between journalists and non-journalists because the journalists were carrying cameras and other equipment which made them clearly distinguishable," he said.

In his statement, Katju asked the Centre and the state governments to severely punish police personnel involved in attacks on journalists.

The PCI chief said, "The government of the Union and all states are therefore called upon to severely punish the police personnel involved in the attacks on journalists, and ensure that such incidents do not recur in future, failing which it will be deemed that they are unable to run the government in accordance with the Constitution, and then the legal consequences in Articles 355 and 356 (which deal with the failure of constitutional machinery) may follow."

He also demanded that all medical aid be provided to the injured journalists immediately.

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