Srishti Jatav, a journalist with the Dalit Times, was arrested while she was out reporting in Jamia Nagar on Wednesday.
“I had learned that Delhi Development Authority and Delhi police officials were at Dhobi Ghat, Jamia Nagar, to remove some slum dwellings. When I reached there to cover it, the police took me and my cameraman Raju into custody,” she told Newslaundry. “The police first snatched away our camera and then my mobile phone without warning. When I said I was a journalist they asked why I was there, who had sent us? And who had given us permission to be there?”
Srishti recalled that when she reached the slum, the residents were protesting against their eviction. “There was some stone pelting as well. We were talking to the people when the police surrounded us and alleged that we were trying to incite riots there. The police told me I was the one who had incited those people to pelt stones,” she said. “Then they snatched away my phone and took me to the Jamia Nagar police station, sometime between 02:30 pm and 3 pm. I was let go only after three hours. At the station, they demanded that I delete the videos I had taken from my phone. I refused so they deleted the files themselves.”
Asked why they had detained a journalist doing her job, the SHO of the Jamia Nagar police station claimed, “We haven’t taken anybody into custody.”
Pressed further, he said, “You speak to our DCP about this, I don’t know anything.”
The deputy commissioner of police, southeast Delhi, Rajendra Meena, said, “Yes, we did take the girl into custody and I have shared the information about this in the group.”
Which group? “I’m sending it to you on WhatsApp,” he replied.
According to the DCP’s WhatsApp statement, this is what happened: A team of DDA officials went to Dhobi Ghat to remove encroachments on public land, accompanied by a police contingent led by the Jamia Nagar SHO to ensure security. At about 12:30 pm, Sucheta De of the All India Central Council of Trade Unions came with a few of her associates and started arguing with the DDA personnel. After she egged the slum dwellers to hinder the work of the DDA officials, some of them pelted stones, leading the police to detain them.
He wouldn’t explain why a journalist was detained along with the residents and the activists.
A version of this story was originally published on .