Attack on Photojournalist at Mumbai Bagh: 30 hours after assault, no action taken by cops

Updated: Feb 08, 2020, 07:53 IST | Anurag Kamble | Mumbai

Despite strong words from state home minister, police officers remain tight-lipped; journalist bodies to boycott upcoming police marathon

The Bombay News Photographers' Association has demanded that the police officers who assaulted Raje be suspended immediately
The Bombay News Photographers' Association has demanded that the police officers who assaulted Raje be suspended immediately

More than a day after the brutal attack on senior photojournalist Ashish Raje by the cops, while on assignment for mid-day, and the assurance of prompt action by the state home minister, the police are yet to act. Senior police officers also chose to stay silent on Friday about what action would be taken against the cops accused of the attack.

The Bombay News Photographers' Association (BNPA) has therefore decided to boycott the first Maharashtra Police Marathon, to be held tomorrow. The Sports Journalists' Federation of India is supporting BNPA in the boycott.

Raje, a senior photojournalist, was attacked by cops at Mumbai Bagh, Nagpada on Thursday afternoon when he had gone to shoot the ongoing protests against the CAA for this paper. When Raje was trying to enter the site, police officers demanded his ID card. While taking out the card, he walked past barricades as some women wanted to enter. That is when the police began manhandling Raje, slapping and beating him with their batons. He sustained injuries to his thigh and ring finger.

Ashish Raje managed to save his camera during the assault
Ashish Raje managed to save his camera during the assault

Accompanied by Mumbai Press Club representatives, Raje met Home Minister Anil Deshmukh on Friday. Deshmukh apologised for the entire episode on behalf of the Mumbai Police force and assured action. In a tweet, Deshmukh referred to the incident as an 'appalling act'. He also wrote that strict disciplinary action would be taken against those involved. But nothing has happened and there was no declaration of action on Friday.

mid-day tried to get in touch with the Senior Inspector of Nagpada police station, Shalini Sharma; Additional Commissioner (Central Region) Veeresh Prabhu and Joint Commissioner (law and order) Vinay Choubey to know about the action taken, but none responded to calls and messages.

Raje was called by Additional Commissioner (Central Region) Veeresh Prabhu for inquiry on Friday afternoon. Statements of the cops who were involved in the attack were also recorded with the additional commissioner. However, the cops remained tight-lipped about identifying the personnel involved in the attack. But pictures taken during the assault show Sub-Inspector Aseem Sheikh was one of the cops who attacked Raje.

"The investigation is on, it will be too early to comment about anything. Once the inquiry is complete, we will be able to share information," said DCP (PRO) Pranay Ashok.

Boycotting police marathon
To intensify their united protest, the BNPA has decided to boycott the coverage of the first ever Maharashtra Police Marathon, to be held on Sunday, February 9. The BNPA held a meeting at the Mumbai Press Club on Friday declaring this, and demonstrated against the police atrocity.

BNPA demanded that the police officers involved in the attack be suspended immediately. "We are satisfied that Home Minister Anil Deshmukh has directed a probe in the unwarranted assault. But we will continue to review the probe process and our protest will continue till proper action is taken," said BNPA president Vivek Bendre. The BNPA has been supported by the Mumbai Press Club, Mumbai Marathi Patrakar Sangh, TV Journalists' Association, Mantralaya aani Vidhimandal Vartahar Sangh, Thane Shahar Dainik Patrakar Sangh, Navi Mumbai Patrakar Sangh, National Union of Journalists, Upnagar Patrakar Sangh and the Indian Journalists' Union.

Sports journalists support boycott

The Sports Journalists' Association of Mumbai (SJAM) condemned the attack on Raje by the police. In a statement it said its members support the call taken by the photojournalists to boycott the Maharashtra Police Marathon scheduled for this Sunday. They also urged print journalists not to cover the event.

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