Journalist Tej Bahadur Singh was allegedly manhandled by the Delhi police today while reporting from south Delhi’s Vasant Vihar. Singh works with Newsreel Asia, a digital news platform. He told Newslaundry the police “pushed” him so he “fell to the ground”.
The incident took place at around 6.40 am. Singh said he had been visiting the Priyanka Gandhi camp in Vasant Vihar over the past few days to shoot footage for a documentary.
“An eviction notice had been served to camp dwellers. It was initially scheduled for Thursday,” he explained. “However, it did not take place. On Friday morning, upon learning the eviction was underway, I hurried to the location.”
At the camp, Singh said he requested permission from the police officials present to film the proceedings. Permission was denied.
“I asked them to provide official documents that would justify media entry being denied,” he said. “Instead, they began to push me, causing me to fall to the ground. One of them intentionally kneed me on my thigh. But this is not new at all – it’s happening with all journalists and it happened to me today as well. This is the attitude of the Delhi police.”
Videos of the incident were subsequently posted on Twitter.
Singh told Newslaundry he later managed to shoot the footage he needed “from a distance”.
Newslaundry contacted the Delhi police’s public relations officer for comment and was asked to call the DCP South West, who did not take our calls. This report will be updated if we receive a response.
Newsreel Asia issued a statement condemning the “unwarranted act of aggression” by the police against Singh, saying he had been “subjected to physical assault by three policemen”.
“Despite identifying himself as a journalist and presenting his press card, Mr Singh was prevented from performing his duties and was assaulted when he questioned the basis for the restriction. While one officer persistently struck the journalist’s shin, another shoved him, leading to his fall,” the statement said. “...We urge the Delhi police to develop a comprehensive protocol for its officers and constables regarding their interactions with journalists, particularly during sensitive events like today's court-ordered demolition.”