PRESS COUNCIL OF INDIA ASKS MAHA GOVT TO SUBMIT REPORT ON ARREST OF 2 JOURNALISTS IN PALGHAR

MUMBAI : The  Press Council of India (PCI) has asked the Chief Secretary, Maharashtra, Director General of Police (DGP), Secretary, Home (Police) and the Superintendent of Police (SP),Palghar to submit their reply in connection with the arrest of two journalists on 22 June by the Palghar police while they were covering a dacoity on 21 June night. The PCI has said the incident is a violation of press freedom under the Press Council Act,1978.

  Anupama Bhatnagar, Secretary, PCI in a reply to Ramakant Patil, president, Palghar District Patrakar Sangh (PDPS), said the incident violates Sections 13(1), and 15(4) of the Press Council Act,1978 and have asked the Maharashtra government to submit their reply within two weeks after the receipt of the communication. Patil said we had complained to the PCI and requested their intervention and mentioned that the Palghar police should immediately squash the Section 353 (obstruction to government work) of the IPC charged against the two journalists. We also want action to be taken against the concerned police officers, namely the then PI Kiran Kabadi and PSI Toufeek Sayyed, said Patil. Shockingly, there is no CCTV footage available of the spot at the Palghar police station, as the images had been corrupted as claimed by PI Kabadi, hence the two journalists had just gone to perform their duties and wrongly arrested,said Patil.

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.