The Press Club of India issued a statement, on Thursday, demanding immediate action against Punjab police officials for allegedly assaulting senior journalist Naresh Vats, who was in Delhi to cover the joint press conference of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann.
The organisation has demanded the “immediate suspension of the policemen and compensation to the aggrieved scribe.”
“There is no action or statement from either chief ministers. Their silence is an ominous pointer of their tacit approval of the incident. It is a matter of serious concern,” the Press Club wrote.
On Tuesday, Vats was allegedly assaulted by Punjab police and was barred from attending the press conference, which took place at Imperial Hotel in Delhi. According to the journalist, despite providing his Press Information Bureau card when asked to prove his identity, he was denied entry to the conference by an official. The official had allegedly also asked the police present at the event “to put the journalist in jail.”
Following this, Vats filed a complaint with the Director-General of PIB and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
On Tuesday, Chandigarh Press Club had also shared a statement, condemning the issue. According to their statement, when Vats was barred from entering the conference, he had resisted, upon which police personnel had assaulted him. The Chandigarh Press Club also mentioned that despite Vats making numerous calls to the Public Relations team of the Punjab Government regarding the issue, there was no response. “Eventually, Vats was left with no other option but to file a complaint against the policemen at the Parliamentary Street police station,” they added.
“This incident is a clear attack on the freedom of speech while restricting a journalist from performing his professional commitment,” said Rajinder Singh Nagarkoti, Secretary-General of Chandigarh Press Club.
The organisation demanded that strict actions be taken against the policemen. It had further urged the Press Club of India to take notice of “all such atrocities against journalists.”