As journalists in the Capital continued to ask questions on the detention of DNA assistant editor Iftikhar Gilani, Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde promised to inquire into the incident. His Cabinet colleague, Manish Tewari, went a step further, terming the alleged harassment of Mr. Gilani and his wife “over-reaction”.
A Delhi-based journalist accredited with the Central Government, Mr. Gilani is the son-in-law of Kashmiri separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani. On Saturday, hours after Afzal Guru’s execution, Mr. Gilani and his wife were detained by officers from the Special Cell of the Delhi Police while their children were locked into the bedroom of their flat.
While Congress spokesman Sandeep Dikshit lobbed persistent questions on the issue into the Home Ministry’s court, Mr. Shinde simply said: “I know him and I will enquire.”
The Information and Broadcasting Minister was more forthright. “It is most unfortunate, a classic case of over-reaction,” Mr. Tewari told The Hindu. “If there was anything substantive in the charges against him, they should have proceeded according to the law… I do hope the Delhi Police will fix responsibility.”
Meanwhile, journalists’ associations continued to rally round Mr. Gilani. The South Asia Media Commission (SAMC) pointed out that as a member of the commission and its parent body, the South Asian Free Media Association, Mr. Gilani “has played an active role in highlighting threats and pressures experienced by journalists in the discharge of their professional duties. For him — his wife and school-going children — to be subjected to this obnoxious treatment is highly ironic indeed,” said a statement issued by SAMC, India president K. K. Katyal.
The Indian Women’s Press Corps expressed distress that a journalist who was accredited to cover Parliament proceedings could be treated in such a way. It demanded action against the police officials who detained the journalist and harassed his family.