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Mumbai court grants bail to journalist arrested for allegedly causing migrant unrest

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Migrant workers outside Bandra railway station | ANI
Migrant workers outside Bandra railway station | ANI


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Mumbai: A Munbai court here on Thursday granted bail to a television journalist arrested for allegedly `spreading misinformation’ with his report that the government was thinking of starting Jan Sadharan train services for migrants, which allegedly led to a crowd gathering in Bandra.

Rahul Kulkarni, journalist with a Marathi news channel, was arrested by Mumbai Police on Wednesday, a day after several migrant workers gathered near Bandra station here demanding that they be sent back to their home towns.

Kulkarni was produced before a magistrate in Bandra on Thursday where the police sought his custody.

The court, however, refused the police’s plea and remanded Kulkarni in judicial custody, following which his advocate Subodh Desai immediately filed a bail application.

After hearing brief arguments, the court granted him bail on a surety of Rs 15,000.

Ten others arrested in the case were remanded in police custody till April 19.

The police booked Kulkarni under Indian Penal Code Sections 269 (negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) and 505(b) (intent to cause fear or alarm among public whereby any person may be induced to commit an offence against the state or against public tranquility), and provisions of the Epidemic Diseases Act.

According to police, Kulkarni allegedly gave a “false” story, saying the Railways was going to start special trains to ferry migrant workers stranded in Maharashtra back to their native states.

The police said hundreds of migrant workers gathered at the Bandra station on Tuesday after watching the news, and they were later dispersed.

Meanwhile, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut hailed court’s decision to grant bail to Kulkarni.

He said the arrest of the journalist in connection with the gathering of migrants in Bandra was unfortunate.

Talking to a news channel, Raut said the government and media were both important pillars of democracy.

“Both sides should be alert that such an incident should not happen again. I am happy journalist Rahul Kulkarni got bail. The police should find out truth into the charges on which he was arrested,” the Rajya Sabha member said.

Raut, who is the executive editor of Shiv Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’, said he was speaking as a journalist andnot Sena leader.

He said the “Railways was also responsible for the problem”.


Also read: How not to report: A lesson from Republic TV, Times Now, ABP covering Bandra migrants


 

 

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Andhra doctor, suspended for alleging PPE shortage, now beaten by cops for ‘creating nuisance’

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A doctor with a stethoscope (Representative image) | Pixabay


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Bengaluru: A doctor with a government hospital in Andhra Pradesh, who was suspended for questioning the shortage of PPE kits, was admitted to a mental health facility Sunday, a day after he was allegedly manhandled by the police and arrested for creating nuisance in Visakhapatnam.

Dr Sudhakar Rao, a government civil surgeon, was beaten, his hands tied behind his back and dragged by police officers Sunday. During the incident, Sudhakar allegedly verbally abused the Jagan Mohan Reddy government in an inebriated state. Videos of the incident have since been widely shared online.

“The police control room received a call about a person creating nuisance on Beach Road Hospital in Visakhapatnam. The Fourth Town police was rushed there and found that the person was the suspended doctor, Sudhakar.

“When the police tried to control him, he snatched the mobile phone of an officer and threw it away. He is suffering from mental disorder and he was drunk. He was sent for a medical examination,” Vishakapatnam Police Commissioner R.K. Meena told the media Sunday.

Sudhakar was admitted to a mental hospital Sunday after doctors at the King George Hospital in Vishakapatnam said he suffered from anxiety.

“Since the doctor is in anxiety and talking irrelevant things, I have referred him to a mental care hospital in Visakhapatnam,” said Dr Radha Rani, medical superintendent, King George Hospital.

A statement released by the hospital said: “Dr Sudhakar was brought to the KGH casualty ward at 6.30 pm. From the smell, it was found that he was in a drunk condition. Under the influence of alcohol, he did not cooperate with anybody there and kept abusing all. Still, his pulse, BP were checked. Pulse was 98, BP 140/100. Blood samples were sent to forensic lab to ascertain alcohol content in his blood.”


Also read: 6 toilets for 20 houses, inadequate testing: Why Mumbai’s Worli chawls are a Covid hotspot


‘Treatment towards Sudhakar was inhuman’

Sudhakar, who spent more than 10 years at the Narsipatnam Government Hospital in Andhra Pradesh, was suspended from his duties in March after he openly criticised the Reddy government for failing to provide PPE kits and N95 masks to doctors treating Covid-19 patients.

He had alleged that the state government was giving N95 masks and PPE kits meant for doctors to politicians and the police.

A video of Sudhakar criticising the government was also shared widely. In the clip, he can be heard saying: “We are putting our lives at risk here. We are asked to use the same mask for 15 days and a fresh mask will be provided only twice a month.”

Speaking to ThePrint, Dr P. Gangadhar Rao, member of the National COVID Committee of the Indian Medical Association, said the manner in which Sudhakar was manhandled by the police was “inhuman” and “violated” human rights.

“We strongly condemn the way he was taken into custody. He was not carrying a weapon, he was alone, the number of policemen outnumbered him. Why treat him like that? We also saw a video where a policeman beats him with a lathi,” said Dr Gangadhar.

He added that Rao was one of the most experienced anaesthetists the Andhra Pradesh government had.

“Our next step of action is to get Sudhakar to write an unconditional apology for having used filthy language, abusing the chief minister and the government. We will then take our appeal to the CM seeking that he be reinstated,” Gangadhar said.


Also read: Face shields, gowns, masks — the new attire for cabin crew post lockdown


 

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