FIRST ARREST UNDER AMENDED SECTION 353 OF IPC JOURNALISTS PROTEST POLICE ARREST OF 2 REPORTERS IN PALGHAR

Around 150 journalists  belonging to Palghar, Dahanu, Vasai-Virar, Mira-Bhayander journalists' association staged a  march to the Palghar police station on Friday to  protest the arrest of two reporters under the newly amended Section 353 ( assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of  duty)of the IPC on 22 June. This is the first  arrests post the amendment on 7 June by the State government.

Condemning the arrest of Ram Parmar a reporter  associated with Hindustan Times and Mohammed Hussain Khan of Aaj Tak news channel, the journalists demanded to Manjunath Singe, Superintendent of Police (SP), Palghar the immediate quashing of the said Section 353 of the IPC, suspension of PSI T Sayyed, PI Kiran Kabadi and other demands. 

The journalists marched from the Hutatma Chowk located in city to the Palghar police station, where they met Singe, and the demands were made. Meanwhile, the SP said a departmental inquiry is in the final stages and said the CCTV footage have  been sent for forensic analysis and have requested the Forensic department to send the report early and refused to comment further. However, it is gathered that the CCTV cameras were not in a working stage since August 2017, according to  sources and even PI Kabadi had informed that the hard disk in the Digital Video Recorder (DVR) has become "corrupted."

The various media associations have already submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to this effect for the quashing of the Section 353 framed against the two journalists on 22 June. The issue is likely to be taken up during the Nagpur Assembly monsoon session by the Opposition, said Ramakant Patil, senior journalist who led the delegation.

 

THE CASE

On 21 June midnight, there was a dacoity at Waghoba Ghat in Palghar where Parmar and Khan went to the Palghar police station to get inputs on the incident. While Khan was filming a police van which just entered the station, PSI T Sayyed took objection to the filming and snatched Khan's mobile camera and also punched him in the chest. Next, Khan was locked in a room and when Parmar questioned PSI Sayyed about the illegal act, the cop dragged Parmar and was about to assault him. Next, the cop also threatened Parmar and Khan that both will be booked under Section 353 (obstruction to government work) of the IPC. While Khan was detained at the police station for six hours, Parmar was picked up from his home on 22 June early morning by PSI Sayyed  where Parmar was falsely told that Addl SP Yogesh Chavan wanted to talk to him. But  Parmar was arrested under Section 353 of the IPC. Next, both wereput in a lockup at the Kelwe Coastal police station where the case was transferred. The very afternoon, both were produced before the Palghar court which rejected their bail as the Section 353 was  triable  before the Sessions Court. The two reporters were lodged in the Thane Central jail for four days and finally bail was granted only on 25 June by the Sessions Court and released the next day.