New Delhi: Delhi Police on Saturday tendered their “deepest apologies” for the attack on two media personnel in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) on Friday when police undertook a baton charge on protesting students.
“Yesterday’s (Friday’s) incident was a very unfortunate one. Our deepest apologies to the media. Our intention wasn’t to obstruct the media from doing its job,” said DCP and Delhi Police spokesperson Madhur Verma in a statement.
On Friday, JNU teachers and students held a protest march demanding suspension of professor Atul Johri, accused of sexual harassment, and protesting against the removal of some department heads and a coordinator for not complying with the University’s new attendance rules.
As the hundreds of protesting students and teachers from the University marched towards Parliament, the Delhi Police undertook a baton charge and fired water canons on the agitators near the INA Market. In the melee, a woman journalist and a woman photographer were assaulted.
The journalist has filed a case against a Delhi Police inspector for molesting her and the photographer complained of being roughed-up by policewomen. The protestors have claimed that the attack by police was “unprovoked”.
The Delhi Police, in its statement, said the incident happened due to confusion as some female police personnel mistook the photojournalist as a protestor. It has, however, taken strong cognizance of the matter and ordered an inquiry.
“Delhi Police and I personally have always maintained that the media is an integral part of our democracy. We have always provided access to information and at our end have always tried to ensure media personnel covering the police don’t face any problems while doing their job,” said Verma.
Meanwhile, several journalists from various organisations gathered outside the office of Delhi Police Commissioner in the afternoon to protest against the incident.
“This is not an isolated incident. Journalists in the line of duty have occasionally been roughed up by the police in the past also. Let us gather in large numbers and make our voice heard,” said one of the appeals to media personnel.