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Two U.P. railway police personnel suspended for beating up journalist

A screengrab of the viral video that shows two GRP personnel beating up a journalist in UP

A screengrab of the viral video that shows two GRP personnel beating up a journalist in UP   | Photo Credit: ANI

A video of two Government Railway Police personnel allegedly thrashing the journalist went viral on social media on June 11

The Uttar Pradesh police on Wednesday suspended a GRP (Government Railway Police) Station House Officer and a constable in Shamli district for allegedly thrashing a journalist, locking him up illegally and urinating in his mouth.

The journalist Amit Kumar Sharma, who works with Hindi news channel News 24, had gone to Dhimanpur in Shamli district to report on the derailment of a goods train when he was assaulted by the railway police.

Mr. Sharma asserted that he had been gathering footage at the site of the derailment late on Tuesday when the GRP’s Shamli SHO Rakesh Kumar first threw his camera to the ground and then snatched his mobile phones. When queried on the reason for being targeted, Mr. Sharma claimed the officer had begun beating him and hurling abuses.

In mobile phone video footage that has gone viral on social media, the GRP inspector’s subordinates can also be seen assaulting the journalist, who is repeatedly punched, kicked, slapped and pushed around on the tracks. It was not clear from this footage as to what provoked the assault by the GRP personnel.

However, Mr. Sharma’s ordeal did not end there. He said he was taken to the police station and locked up inside, and alleged that the officer had urinated in his mouth to humiliate him. “Inspector sahib urinated in my mouth,” Mr. Sharma is seen telling fellow journalists who had gone to the police station to rescue him, while still shown standing behind bars in the lock-up.

Taking cognisance of the video footage, U.P. DGP O.P. Singh ordered the immediate suspension of SHO Mr. Kumar and constable Sanjay Pawar. Both were in plain clothes during the incident.

“Strict punishment shall be accorded to policemen misbehaving with citizens,” Mr. Singh said.

Mr. Sharma alleged that the GRP had acted out of vendetta as he had recently covered a story exposing illegal vendor activity on passenger trains plying between New Delhi and Saharanpur that was being run in collusion with GRP officials.

“After this [the news report] broke out, they were forced to arrest the thekedar Nafees (a contractor who allegedly ran the illegal vendor operation),” asserted Mr. Sharma. “Due to this, the source of black money for the police shut down and they decided to target me,” the journalist claimed.

Coming just days after the U.P. police arrested freelance journalist Prashant Kanojia for allegedly sharing an ‘objectionable’ post about Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Twitter, the assault in Shamli on the television reporter triggered much outrage against the BJP-led State government.

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Printable version | Feb 19, 2020 6:42:01 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/two-up-railway-police-personnel-suspended-for-beating-up-journalist/article27852181.ece

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