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HomeIndiaEditors Guild slams UP scribe's arrest and 'torture', says law misused to...

Editors Guild slams UP scribe’s arrest and ‘torture’, says law misused to scare journalists

Agra journalist Gaurav Bansal arrested for 'obstructing a government officer from discharging his duty' while reporting alleged electoral malpractice.

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New Delhi: The Editors Guild of India condemned the arrest and alleged torture of journalist Gaurav Bansal by police officers in Agra for reporting electoral malpractices in the recent assembly elections. In a statement released Monday, the Guild also demanded he be treated fairly by the state administration and released immediately.

The 39-year-old was arrested on 15 March and charged under penal laws for “obstructing a government officer from discharging his duty”. According to the complaint by a police officer, Bansal was accompanied by 10 to 15 people when he reached Mandi Samiti campus in Agra on 8 March and claimed EVMs were being replaced. He also allegedly misbehaved and injured a police personnel, while using “objectionable language”.

Bansal’s lawyer Adhar Sharma has denied all charges and claimed he was given “third degree torture and was humiliated by police in custody”. Sharma said the journalist was targeted for doing his job.

The Agra-based journalist, who reportedly works for Hindi daily Punjab Kesri, will be in judicial custody till 21 March when his bail will come up for hearing. A video has been doing the rounds on social media where he was seen in a shaky condition. Meanwhile, Etmaddaula SHO Satya Dev Sharma has denied allegations of any torture and said the scribe had a “history of misbehaving with senior officers”.

The Guild expressed deep concern on the “frequent use of penal laws by the police as tools to harass and intimidate journalists from freely reporting on sensitive issues”. It demanded an independet court-monitered inquiry to investigate the charges of torture by police and urged the state government to ensure that the rights of media were protected and journalists were not harrased from doing their job.

Several local journalists and rights activists have accused police of “high-handedness and roughing up the accused”. They have also met senior administrative police officers to free Bansal.  

Also read: Jail was a ‘torture camp’ during Emergency, TN CM Stalin says in his autobiography


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