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Reporter assault case: Errant Cop apologizes, disciplinary action against him initiated

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Dimapur, May 8: As condemnations poured in from various quarters and questions were raised against the assault of a Reporter of Nagaland Page in Dimapur by GRP personnel Friday afternoon, the police personnel in question finally tendered an unconditional apology in the evening.
In his apology letter, UBC S James Lotha of GRPS wrote: “With reference to the complaint lodged by Dilip Sharma, Executive Editor, Nagaland Page, on behalf of Smti Tiamerenla Monalisa Changkija, Chief Editor, Nagaland Page, in connection with the physical assault of Mr. Prasanjit Dutta vide GRPS GDE No. 11/20 dtd 08/05/2020 at 1600 hrs, I, UBC S. James Lotha, GRPS would like to tender my unconditional apology to Mr. Prasanjit Dutta, S/o Lt Bhanu Dutta, his family and Nagaland Page for use of inappropriate language and physical force on Mr. Prasanjit Dutta, a Reporter of Nagaland Page on 08/05/20 at the platform of Dimapur Railway Station, which has caused undue physical and mental trauma to him. It is also admitted for the insensitive enquiry in Netaji Colony following the incident.”
Following the admittance and subsequent apology issued by the said police personnel, Dimapur Police has initiated disciplinary action against him.
“With regard to the physical assault of an individual from the press media by the GRPS personnel on 08/05/220, appropriate disciplinary action has been taken against the erring personnel, ADCP (Crime) and PRO, Dimapur Police stated.
It may be mentioned that the incident in which Prasanjit Dutta, Reporter of Nagaland Page, was physically assaulted by the GRP personnel without any provocation has not only caused physically harm and mentally trauma to him but also the police personnel tried to play a communal card by asking him whether he was a Muslim, which tantamount to crime under Indian Penal Code.
Not satisfied with the assault, the personnel from GRP even went up to the extent of literally “hunting” him down from his home, when the news about the physical assault flashed in the social media. This act of the police has not only caused mental trauma to his family members, but projected the victim of police assault as a “criminal” in the eye of the colony people who had come out after police came enquiring about the Reporter and took him in a police vehicle, despite being requested by Nagaland Page staff to wait for them.
It may be noted here that the Reporter is visually impaired in one eye.
The fact that a senior police officer threatened to file a “Counter FIR” against the Reporter if an FIR is filed against the erring police personnel indicates the arrogant behavior of the police when the matter was being discussed in the Police Station. The said police officer went on to say the Reporter had “trespassed” a “Restricted Area” and no one without the authority is allowed to enter the area.
This Newspaper would like to question the said police officer as to when was an order passed to declare the Railway Station area as a “Restricted Zone” and where was it published for public information.
While giving a statement, Chief Editor of Nagaland Page, Tiamerenla Monalisa Changkija condemned the “intimidating tactics” of the senior police officer, who menacingly said that the police will file a counter FIR against the victim and even threatened to take the victim into custody. “They don’t know what they are getting themselves into,” she said.
She maintained that she would not withdraw the FIR filed by Nagaland Page unless she is satisfied with an apology by the police, as also appropriate action against the erring police personnel.
Talking to media persons earlier in the evening, she said, “There will not be a compromise of any kind but a sincere and outright apology.”
“If we fight, we must pick our size. The police are no match for the media. So it is not my weakness but my strength to accept the apology of the police.” she added.
She further explained that while there are many rotten apples in the police force, there are also many who have held the fort in the Police Department. This is not the time to lose focus but the police should know who the real enemy is at this juncture, she added with obvious reference to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, where both police and media personnel are frontline workers.
Condemning the racial slur on the victim by the erring police personnel, she affirmed that police has no right to ask him about his religion or community and tell him to go back to his state.
“My Reporter is from Nagaland, this is his State; why are his religion and community such an issue?” questioned the Senior Journalist and Editor.
Changkija also asserted that there was no directive or notice issued by the police or the Government that the Railway Station is a restricted area. (Page News Service)

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