Photojournalist's thrashing a shameful event

Updated: Feb 08, 2020, 07:30 IST | The Editorial | Mumbai

Raje explained that he moved to the other side because some women wanted to pass by the barricade and he was taking some time to fish out his ID card from his pocket

Protestors during a demonstration against CAA, NRC and NPR at Shaheen Bagh in New Delhi. pic/ PTI
Protestors during a demonstration against CAA, NRC and NPR at Shaheen Bagh in New Delhi. pic/ PTI

Independent photojournalist Ashish Raje was at the receiving end of police brutality while covering an anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) protest in Nagpada for this paper on Thursday afternoon.

The Nagpada protest has earned the sobriquet of Mumbai Bagh, after its cousin in the capital, Shaheen Bagh. Raje was slapped four to five times and thrashed with a baton by two policemen at the entrance of the protest site.

Raje explained that he moved to the other side because some women wanted to pass by the barricade and he was taking some time to fish out his ID card from his pocket.

Instead of shoving and hitting the photojournalist who was simply doing his job, why could a dialogue not be initiated? The cops on duty should have held him back, asked him to stand aside, checked his ID and accordingly granted him access.

Even if he crossed over, he could have been stopped right there and asked to provide an explanation.

If the cops present were ill-equipped for a dialogue, then a senior police officer could have been called to the spot.

It is shocking to see an on-duty photographer being assaulted by police in this heinous manner. Is it illegal to report on a protest happening in the city? Were the police frustrated at the obduracy of the protesters and vented their frustration on a convenient target?

He was injured but has been recovering. What if he were seriously injured? Would the cops have paid if the extremely expensive camera equipment was broken during the thrashing?

Journalists should be able to do their job without fear and in relative safety. They put their lives on the line when they cover political events, they certainly should not be beaten up by the police!

This reprehensible incident should never be repeated. It is a black, shameful event in the history of policing in Mumbai.

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