On Tuesday, Jasbir Singh Gill, a Congress member of parliament from Khadoor Sahib in Punjab, allegedly manhandled two journalists of RPD 24, a Canada-based news channel, while protesting against the new farm laws at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar.
Gill, on his part, claimed the journalists are “anti-farmer”.
On Wednesday, the Delhi police registered a complaint against Gill at the Parliament Street police station. The incident took place three weeks after a journalist with Aaj Tak was at an Indian Youth Congress rally in Chandigarh.
On the afternoon of December 22, Jalandhar-based Chandanpreet Kaur, 25, and her cameraman Surendra, 41, were at Jantar Mantar to interview Ravneet Singh Bittu, the Congress MP from Ludhiana. Bittu and two other MPs from Punjab a protest against the new farm laws at the site since a week.
Chandanpreet Kaur and cameraman Surendra at the Parliament Street police station on Wednesday.
In Bittu’s absence, Gill, who was present at the protest site, asked Kaur to interview him instead. “During the interview, I asked him why the protesting farmers could not trust politicians, and who he blames for such distrust,” Kaur told Newslaundry. “He asked me to pose questions only about himself, and not others.”
When the journalist did not change her question, the politician declined to speak and even asked her to keep her voice down. “I told him in Punjabi to not address me as ‘tu’,” Kaur said. “He then lost his cool and snatched my mic and broke it. He pulled down the camera and tried to break it too.”
uploaded by RPD 24 later went viral on social media platforms. The complete interview can be viewed .
Gill snatches Kaur’s mic and grabs the camera of the RPD 24 team at Jantar Mantar on Tuesday.
Surendra, the cameraman, added that Gill and about six or seven of his associates then manhandled Kaur and him, and tried to forcefully delete the footage of the interview from the camera. “Three of his men held my hand behind my back, while others inspected the camera for a memory card,” he told Newslaundry.
Luckily, Surendra had taken the memory card out of the camera when the trouble began, and the Congress politician’s musclemen seized an empty memory card. “The camera cost Rs 1.5 lakh. They broke the lens part of it,” he added.
Kaur alleged that a female associate of Gill “pushed her around” and said that Gill’s actions constitute physical harassment. She said that when she alerted the policemen near Jantar Mantar about what was happening, they did not intervene.
“When we left, Gill and his people were laughing hysterically,” said Kaur, who has been a journalist for two years. “I still do not understand why he [Gill] did this. This is the first time something like this has happened to me.”
Following an against Gill, Kaur and her team from RPD 24 registered a complaint against him at the Parliament Street police station on Wednesday.
The Parliament Street police station in New Delhi.
Gill’s office told Newslaundry that they are unaware of the police complaint against him. Asked about the clip showing the politician manhandling the journalists, a personal assistant told us that the video showed only “one part” of the incident and the journalists had “misbehaved” with the MP.
“No snatching of camera or mic took place,” said a response from Gill’s office. “Mic was pushed aside, if something was deleted, how did the video come out? She [Kaur] is anti-farmer, trying to create division. She is a habitual offender and has been doing this with many personalities to gain TRP.”
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