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J&K police defends FIRs against journalists, says media should ascertain facts first

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Police personnel block the road near the residences of former CMs Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti in Srinagar
A file photo of a police personnel from Jammu and Kashmir police (Representational image) | PTI


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Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir police on Thursday defended filing of cases against three journalists in the valley saying two of them have been booked for making seditious and incendiary comments on social media.

Inspector General of Police (Kashmir) Vijay Kumar, reacting to journalist bodies’ criticism of the police action, said before making broad generalisations like freedom of press is being curtailed, people should ascertain the facts.

“Only one journalist has been questioned about a journalistic work as only one FIR of instigating people for violence has been registered over an encounter in Shopian at Police Station Anantnag.

Remaining two persons have not been booked for any of their journalistic works but because of the reason that they have posted explicitly seditious, incendiary and incriminating texts on social media, challenging sovereignty and integrity of India and attempting to instigate people for violence,” Kumar said.

Three journalists — The Hindu correspondent Peerzada Ashiq, freelance journalist Gowhar Geelani and photojournalist Magray Zahra — have been booked by police.

Ashiq has been booked for his follow up report on Shopian encounter in which two militants were killed.

“One of them in the recent days had also met IGP Kashmir along with 3-4 members of the Kashmir Press Club, Srinagar and accepted the mistake claiming ignorance of the relevant laws and assured not to repeat the same in future,” he said.

Without naming any of the three journalists, Kumar said there are written complaints against one of them as he has exposed life of some peaceful and law-abiding citizens to grave risk by posting incriminating and provocative adjectives against them on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

“The content of these specific complaints discloses a criminal act and law will take its course and the written complaints against this individual will be investigated as mandated by law,” he added.

The IGP said J&K Police has “always maintained highest regard for the freedom of press.

“Media persons and other relevant organisations are expected to issue statements only after ascertaining the facts.”


Also read: UAPA charge on J&K journalist is misuse of power, effort to terrorise media: Editors Guild


 

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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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