New Delhi: Police action against journalists covering a stand-off between authorities and self-styled 'godman' Rampal in Haryana last year was "unprovoked" and "pre-meditated", a media panel has said, recommending a judicial probe into the incident.
The panel, set up by the Broadcast Editors' Association (BEA) to look into the incident, has recommended probe by a Supreme Court judge into the alleged assault by police on the journalists in Hissar district in November last.
In its report, the three-member committee has concluded that the police action against media persons was "unprovoked" and "pre-meditated".
It said the police had acted against media persons as it did not want the use of force against women and kids to be recorded by the media for showing it on channels.
The panel emphasised that political executive should be sensitive to such incidents.
The BEA, a body with editors of leading news channels as its members, had constituted the panel shortly after the incident that occurred in November last year.
In its report, the three member committee said that it had met Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal, police officers, and also talked to the local villagers.
It added that it found that not only the victim journalists but also police officers were categorical in their assertions that there was no provocation from or causing of functional impediment from the side of media persons with regard to police operation.
The panel noted that it was the job of the media to cover the event but hardly had the operation begun by the policemen assisted by the para-military forces, when media persons were subjected to lathi-charge.
"This attack was not confined to one place but all over the area ie in sprawl of over half-a-kilometer. The policemen started beating the hapless reporters, cameramen and other scribes mercilessly. The camera or I-cards shown by the media did not deter them from the sordid act. Rather it was taken by the police as a sign of identification for hitting," it said.