The Delhi Police, on Saturday, arrested two freelance journalists Mandeep Punia and Dharmendra Singh while covering the farmers' protests at the Singhu border for alleged misbehaviour with the police. While Singh, working with Online News India, was released after signing an undertaking, Punia, freelance contributor for the Caravan Magazine, has been sent into 14 days of judicial custody after being presented before a magistrate in Tihar Court today morning. His bail hearing is scheduled for tomorrow.
Punia has been charged under Sections 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions), 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty), 353 assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) and Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code.
His bail plea alleges a delay in filing an FIR against the detained journalist and adds that the offences are not made out against him. It also added that the absence of a press card could not be grounds for arrest.
Several took to Twitter to slam the government for the detention of Punia including Rahul Gandhi.
Journalists held protests in different parts of Delhi. Several on Twitter recollected the arrest of Siddique Kappan, Aasif Sultan and other Kashmiri journalists detained by the government while calling for the release of Punia.