Hyderabad: Media personnel returning home after duty hours had a bitter taste of the high-handedness of the Hyderabad City Police on Monday night. Journalists exempted from lockdown restrictions were roughed up by some men in uniform despite showing their identity papers.
The ghastly incident occurred at the end of Begumpet old flyover which runs over Fathenagar nala. Chief of Bureau (Telangana) of The Hindu Ravi Reddy was abused and assaulted by two sub-inspectors and three constables of Begumpet police station, even after identifying himself as a journalist. Mr. Reddy was on his way home after his duty when the incident took place around 10.15 p.m.
The issue was brought to the notice of DGP M Mahender Reddy, Hyderabad Commissioner of Police Anjani Kumar, DCP (North) Kalmeshwar Shingenavar and other officials, who spoke to Mr. Reddy and inquired about the incident.
According to Government Order number 45 issued on Sunday night, print and electronic media are marked as essential services during the lockdown for containment of the spread of COVID-19 in Telangana.
At least a dozen journalists including a woman were waiting for the barricades to be removed. As some others were also waiting, media personnel went to the police, showed their identity cards and requested that they are allowed to go as they were part of essential services. The pleas did not yield any result and the police personnel thrashed the journalists with their batons. The policemen even vent their ire on the vehicles of journalists.
Not stopping at that, they verbally abused in the filthiest language and picked up heated arguments with them. The police forced everyone to take some other route which deviates from their regular route.
Amid the barrage of lathi-charge and verbal abuse, reporters alerted the top brass in the police department about the violation of exemptions to the media granted by the State government.
The incident happened on the first day of lockdown, which makes one wonder how the police would conduct themselves in the days to come.
A similar incident took place when a siasat.com correspondent was returning from his office via Ravindra Bharati circle near Telangana State Assembly. An Inspector asked him to stop the vehicle and then a highly placed official beat him though he was wearing his ID card and carrying a camera on his back.
Police inspector shouted “Seize cheyi bandi seize cheyi, kattu challan kattu” Seize his vehicle and fine him with hefty challan.
Similar incidents of high-handedness by police were reported by journalists of various newspapers and channels across the three commissonerates of Hyderabad, Cyberabad, and Rachakonda, throughout Monday.