Seven media persons from Kerala were on Friday taken into custody by the Karnataka police, detained for seven hours and handed over to the Kerala police at an inter-state-border near Mangaluru.
The media persons, from various TV channels, had gone to Mangaluru to cover the developments in that city a day after two men were shot dead in police firing during a protest over the amended citizenship Act.
Their detention triggered outrage in Kerala, invited the intervention of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, DGP Loknath Behera and veteran journalists in the morning itself. But, the Karnataka government freed the seven in the evening.
The journalists were taken into custody from the premises of a hospital where the bodies of the firing victims were taken for post-mortem. The seven were later moved to a local police station. In the evening, after the bodies were handed over to their families, police took the journalists to the Karnataka-Kerala border in Kasaragod district and handed them over to the Kerala police.
Asianet New TV reporter Mujeeb Rahman, one of the journalists detained, said they had been reporting from the premises of the Mangaluru hospital from early morning. “Around 8.30 am, Mangaluru police commissioner P S Harsha wanted the media persons to go out and sought ID cards. When we showed him the media accreditation cards, the commissioner snubbed us saying those were issued by Kerala. The police then herded us into a van saying they wanted to verify our details.”
He said the police also confiscated their mobile phones and equipment and forced them to sit in the vehicle for four hours. “We were not allowed to contact others. They ill-treated us without giving food or water. After four hours, we were taken to a local police station, where they put up us for another three hours. After 4 pm we were handed over to Kerala police at inter-state border as if we were criminals,” he said.
Earlier in the day, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan wrote to his Karnataka counterpart B S Yediyurappa expressing concern over the detention of the journalists.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines