A Press Council of India, PCI-appointed panel looking into the journalists assault issue outside self style godman Rampal’s ashram has observed that Haryana Police employed unconstitutional tactics to prevent media from doing its duty.
It recommended investigation by administrative officers into the episode.
In its report submitted to PCI, the four-member committee is learnt to have said that police and local administration failed to rise to the situation and resorted to what it called brute force against media persons doing their duty.
Several media personnel were among those injured on November 18 as clashes erupted at Rampal’s ashram in Barwala in Hisar district with police lobbing teargas shells and using batons to disperse his supporters.
In its recommendations, the committee has sought compensation for injured media persons as well as for those whose equipment was damaged during the incident.
It also sought identification and suspension of the policemen responsible for the attack on media persons and fast tracking their cases.
The panel also said that false cases filed on media persons should be withdrawn immediately.
The committee said, the assault on media personnel and equipment amounts to a prima facie violation of fundamental freedom guaranteed to the media under Constitution.
After speaking to media persons who were on the spot in Hisar, the panel noted that it appeared that it was a very well coordinated and well-timed attack on media persons.