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Media stages protest against IG Basant Rath after cameraman slapped in Jammu

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Jammu, Oct 29: The media persons on Monday staged protest against the Jammu and Kashmir Inspector General, Traffic, Basant Rath a day after he slapped a video-journalist and snatched his cell phone.

Carrying placards ‘we want justice’, ‘Singham in Jammu, Chewing Gum in Kashmir’, ‘Where Is Your Uniform?’, the media persons this morning marched from outside the Press Club of Jammu to Maharaja Hari Singh Statue on Tawi Bridge.

The march was led by the Press Club of Jammu president Ashwani Kumar and was joined by secretary general Zorawar Singh Jamwal besides senior and veteran journalists from both print and electronic channels.

Mr Rath on Sunday invited criticism from the media fraternity after he allegedly slapped a cameraman of a news channel and snatched his cell phone.

The journalists comprising cameramen however, also lodged a written complaint against the top cop and demanded registration of FIR against him.

A cameraman namely Rakesh Kumar of ‘Channel 1’ news channel had alleged that he was speaking on his cellphone after parking his two-wheeler along the roadside near Asia crossing when Mr Rath, passing by in civvies, intercepted him and snatched his cellphone and took off the keys of his scooty.

“I was about to make him a request but he turned and slapped me in full public view,” alleged the complainant.

 

 

Senior journalist and President Press Club of Jammu Ashwani Kumar said, “being a senior officer, this gesture does not suits his personality.” “Earlier also many complaints of misbehaviour with common man, journalists and even his subordinates came to fore,” said Mr Kumar and appealed to the Governor Satya Pal Malik to intervene and initiate action against the officer, who despite being law abiding, “himself throw rules to wind.”

The journalist said that he should have behaved like an officer.

“It is unfortunate that the journalist was slapped publicly,” Manu Srivatsa, veteran journalist and former president Press Club of Jammu said.

He rued his behaviour asserting, “there is a law to look after violators but he has no right to slap him.”

“Being in civvies, snatching someone’s mobile phone and slapping a person is a criminal act and there is a set procedure to book officer for his action,” he asserted.

Secretary General Press Club of Jammu Zorawar Singh Jamwal said that it is not a slap on the face of the journalist fraternity but on the government as well.

“Media is the fourth pillar in the democratic set up and slapping a journalist should not be taken as for granted, so the government should intervene and take an action at the earliest,” he added.

Group Editor ‘Channel 1’ Surinder Kumar demanded that action should be initiated against the officer for his rude behaviour to prevent such incidents in future.