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Journalists beaten, arrested in northern Indian state

June 12, 2019

LUCKNOW, India (AP) — Two policemen were suspended on Wednesday for beating a TV journalist and damaging his equipment after he reported on unlicensed vendors at a railroad station in northern India, a state government official said. It was the third incident involving journalists in Uttar Pradesh state in the past week.

State spokesman Awanish Awasthi said the railway police officers were suspended after the journalist complained that he had been attacked Tuesday near the Shamli train station.

On Saturday, a freelance journalist was arrested for a tweet about the state’s top elected official, a member of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. India’s top court ordered his release on Tuesday.

On Sunday, the editor and producer of a TV news channel were arrested after they criticized the state government on a talk show.

Hemant Tiwari, vice president of the Indian Federation of Working Journalists, demanded the sacking of the policemen.

“If the policemen felt that the reporter was at fault, they should have taken legal action against him. But beating him is not acceptable,” he said in a statement.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists called for the release of the two TV journalists.

“Police in India should not imprison journalists for criticizing politicians, let alone for hosting criticism of them on their networks, and must respect press freedom,” CPJ executive director Joel Simon said in a statement.

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