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Friday, February 26, 2021

Attempt to muzzle voices of independent journalists: EGI condemns arrest of Mandeep Punia

The EGI, while demanding immediate release of Punia, has also asked the Delhi Police to restore circumstances in which media can report without fear or favour.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: February 1, 2021 12:53:01 pm
mandeep punia, mandeep punia arrested, mandeep punia farmers protests, mandeep punia singhu border, delhi police, farm laws, indian express newsPolice allege Mandeep Punia was involved in a scuffle with them. (Express photo)

The Editors Guild of India has expressed its utmost concern over the incarceration of freelance journalist Mandeep Punia who was reporting on the farm protest from Singhu border.

In a statement issued on Monday, the guild termed Punia’s arrest as an “attempt to muzzle young courageous voices of independent journalists who through reporting have been busting fake news and speaking truth to power”.

The EGI, while demanding immediate release of Punia, has also asked the Delhi Police to restore circumstances in which media can report without fear or favour.

Earlier on Sunday, a Delhi court had sent freelance journalist Mandeep Punia to 14 days’ judicial custody after he was picked up at the Singhu protest site on Saturday evening.

Police have accused Punia of obstructing them in the discharge of their duties and beating police personnel.

According to the FIR, a group of protesters “clung to the policemen”, and “one of them dragged Constable Rajkumar towards the protest site”. When the police used “minimal force to control the situation…the man who was dragging our constable fell in the canal”, the FIR added.

“He was identified as Mandeep Punia… Punia and the protesters who came along with him obstructed police personnel in their duty and also thrashed them,” the FIR says.

In the First Information Report filed in the early hours of Sunday, he was charged under Sections 186, 353, 332 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code. The sections pertain to obstructing public servants from discharging duty, causing hurt to public servants while discharging duty and endangering human life.

Punia’s application for bail will be heard Monday.

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