A journalist accused Indian Government Railway Police (GRP) force officers in Uttar Pradesh province of urinating in his mouth after they battered and arrested him when he was covering a train derailment on Tuesday night.
Although it remains unclear exactly why the GRP objected to the journalist covering the derailment in Uttar Pradesh’s city of Shamli, the reporter, identified as Amit Sharma from the News24 TV channel, reportedly indicated his mistreatment came in retaliation for a negative story he penned in the recent past about the police force.
Authorities released the journalist on Wednesday.
This is journalist Amit Sharma, live on the evening news on his channel @news24tvchannel, a day after he was assaulted, detained illegally and humiliated by GRP cops in #Shamli yesterday. This what a true journalist does. Dust yourself off and chase the story. pic.twitter.com/gvwjR5MIRY
— Uday Singh Rana (@UdaySRana) June 12, 2019
On Tuesday, Asian News International (ANI) disseminated a video via Twitter purportedly showing GRP officers castigating the reporter.
Journalist thrashed by GRP personnel in Shamli case: Rakesh Kumar, Station House Officer (SHO), Government Railway Police (GRP) & constable Sunil Kumar, have been suspended https://t.co/i8OO17FKyl
— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) June 12, 2019
Sharma claimed he was subjected to torture while in GRP’s custody.
“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,” Sharma reportedly proclaimed.
India Today added:
In more videos being circulated on Twitter, the journalist can be seen narrating his ordeal from behind the bars while Station House Officer (SHO) Rakesh Kumar sits on a chair outside and rejects all his charges.
The News 24 journalist, locked up in the GRP station, can be heard narrating the ordeal. He dubbed the attack as a retaliation for a negative story. Accused inspector/SHO Rakesh Kumar sat on chair and kept confronting other journalists protesting against the incident. pic.twitter.com/dVSPrGKog7
— Piyush Rai (@Benarasiyaa) June 11, 2019
Piyush Rai, an Indian journalist, posted one of those videos on Twitter on Tuesday, noting:
The News 24 journalist, locked up in the GRP station, can be heard narrating the ordeal. He dubbed the attack as a retaliation for a negative story. Accused inspector/SHO Rakesh Kumar sat on [a] chair and kept confronting other journalists protesting against the incident.
Police officers arrested Sharma when he was covering a train derailment near the Dhimanpur gate of Shamli city on Tuesday night.
In a telephone interview from the prison, the victim told Hindustan Times (HT) that the GRP officers were opposed to his presence at the derailment site, adding that they beat him when he attempted to record the incident on video for news coverage.
GRP officers continued to beat the journalist at the police station in Shamli before they threw him in a jail cell, Sharma told the Hindustan Times.
While it remains unclear exactly why the GRP did not want the journalist to cover the derailment — which resulted in no casualties — HT noted:
Sharma said that the GRP cops were perhaps annoyed with him for exposing a few shortcomings of Shamli GRP in the recent past. He said that suspension of the SHO and the constable wasn’t enough and the others involved in beating him should also be suspended.
Subhash Chandra Dubey, the GRP Superintendent of Police (SP), suspended the Shamli railway police chief, SHO Rakesh Kumar, and constable Sanjay Panwar for their role in the incident.
Kumar and Panwar are reportedly the two officers seen beating up the journalist on video as the victim tries to reason with them.
GRP chief Dubey also ordered an investigation into the matter.
“I have directed circle officer of Ghaziabad Ramesh Tripathi to investigate the matter and submit his report,” Subhash Chandra Dubey, the GRP Superintendent of Police (SP), declared, according to HT.
Upon learning about the incident, local journalists stormed the GRP police station, demanding the TV reporters’ release and action against all of the GRP officers involved in the matter.
ANI and other regional news outlets widely circulated the video on social media purportedly showing officers beating up Sharma. The footage “sparked outrage with citizens and journalists demanding an explanation for the ill-treatment meted out to the scribe by government agents,” Mirror Now, a component of the Times Group, reported.
Tuesday’s incident comes a day after India’s Supreme Court lambasted the Uttar Pradesh government for arresting journalist Prashant Kanojia over Twitter posts about the province’s Chief Minister (CM) Yogi Adityanath.
“The court ordered an immediate release of Kanojia on Tuesday after he was put behind the bars for over 3 days,” India Today revealed.