Reported by Santosh Jagdev
Bhubaneswar, Apr 8:
Traffic at the busy AG Square in the Odisha capital came to a halt for hours together since Monday evening as angry journalists sat on a dharna and blocked the road in front of the traffic police station after five journalists were allegedly manhandled by policemen on duty.
The blockade by the journalists, which started around 7 pm, was still on when reports last came in well past midnight. Several rounds of talks between senior police officials led by DCP Nitinjeet Singh and the agitating journalists failed to break the deadlock.
Eyewitness accounts suggest there was an altercation when a reporter of a leading newspaper, along with a photographer of another newspaper, was intercepted by two policeman bang on the middle of the road. “When the journalists confronted the two policemen on the reason for stopping them, they turned abusive,” said Pratap Pradhan, a senior journlaist.
As the altercation hotted up, a group of seven policemen allegedly thrashed the two journalists concerned. They did not spare three other journalists who sought to come to the rescue of their colleagues either.
The five journalists were injured while a costly camera and a mobile phone were damaged in the concerted assault by the policemen, the striking journalists alleged.
Twin City Commissioner Dr. RP Sharma reached the trouble spot around 12.30 am and initiated a fresh round of talks with the scribes on dharna. But there was no outcome till reports last came in.
After talks with editors of newspapers and news channels, Dr Sharma assured stringent action against the concerned police personnel within 24 hours. He also assured that the commissionerate police will compensate the media person who lost his camera and mobile phone in the attack.