New Delhi/Lucknow: After its senior journalist was roughed up by police in Lucknow Sunday night, private television channel CNN-IBN charged Monday that the Uttar Pradesh government was attempting to gag the media from covering the rising crime incidents in the state.
“The Uttar Pradesh administration, in an alleged attempt to gag the media for the recent coverage of rising crime graph in the state, rounded up Shalabh Mani Tripathi, the Lucknow bureau chief of IBN7 news channel,” said a press release issued by the channel.
Recounting his experience, Tripathi told reporters in Lucknow that he was dragged away from the roadside into a police vehicle, led by Superintendent of Police (City) B.P. Ashok Sunday night.
“I was beaten on the way and after reaching the police station B.P. Ashok threatened to eliminate me if I continued to run anti-police stories,” he said.
He alleged that the police was targetting him as he had been running stories exposing the police’s irregularities in several criminal cases including that of deputy chief medical officer Y.S. Sachan, whose mysterious death in Lucknow district jail’s toilet is being termed as a murder by opposition parties.
In a post-midnight action, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati ordered suspension of two police officers.
Hundreds of scribes from the electronic as well as print media had marched down to the chief minister’s residence where they staged a sit-in demonstration until an official of the chief minister’s office came down and announced the suspension of Superintendent of Police (city) B.P. Ashok and Hazratganj Circle Officer Anoop Kumar.
“The government has decided to order suspension of both B.P. Ashok and Anoop Kumar, against whom a criminal case was also being registered,” Navneet Sehgal, an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer and secretary to chief minister, told mediapersons.
A criminal case was also registered against both the cops for assaulting the journalist from IBN-7 channel, as also for attempting to cook up a false criminal case against him, besides giving threats to his life.
The private Hindi news channel, part of the IBN network, has also claimed that its signal had been blacked out “in entire UP on several occasions during last few weeks when the channel refused to compromise and succumb to the State Administration’s pressures.”
“IBN7 is committed to uncover the truth and we will continue to highlight the facts despite these pressure tactics. We will not get fazed by these attempts to curb the freedom of press, infact this makes our resolve stronger to stand for the truth,” Editor-in-Chief, IBN Network, Rajdeep Sardesai said in a statement.