March 21st, 2022
The Editors Guild of India is shocked by the manner in which an Agra based journalist, Gaurav Bansal, was arrested and allegedly tortured for reporting about electoral malpractices in the recent assembly elections. While on one hand the journalist’s lawyer has alleged that, “he was given third degree torture and humiliated by police officers”, the police on the other hand has charged him under penal laws for obstructing a government officer from discharging his duty. The Guild is deeply concerned that penal laws are ever so often used as tools to harass and intimidate journalists from freely reporting on sensitive issues.
The Guild demands that Gaurav Bansal be treated fairly by the state administration and that he be released immediately. Further an independent court monitored inquiry be done to investigate into the charges of torture by the police. EGI also urges the state government to ensure that the rights of media are protected and journalists are not harassed from doing their job fearlessly.
Seema Mustafa, President
Sanjay Kapoor, General Secretary
Anant Nath, Treasurer
Meanwhile, Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav took to Twitter to condemn the arrest and torture of the journalist:
According to reports, Bansal works for the Hindi newspaper Punjab Kesari. The newspaper said that he had gone to report on the alleged replacement of voting equipment in a centre in Agra on March 8. Bansal’s lawyer Adhar Sharma said that he was arrested on March 15 and charged with obstructing an officer on duty.