Hussain Khan and Ram Parmar
Journalists and Human rights defender
HRDA has issued an urgent appeal to the National Human Rights Commission of India on 17th July, regarding the arbitrary arrest on false and fabricated charges on journalists and human rights defender Mr. Hussain Khan and Mr. Ram Parmar. Mr. Hussain Khan aged 45 works as a stringer with Aaj Tak and Mr. Ram Parmar is a senior reporter with Hindustan Times. Both the reporters have a decades' experience and have been associated with several national dailies and news channels.
Late in the night of June 21, 2018, Mr. Khan upon receiving preliminary reports on the arrest undertaken by the police in a dacoity case that night, went to the Palghar police station to obtain information. When the police vehicle arrived, Mr. Khan started filming the scene, to which PSI Mr. Tousif Sayyed took objection and started assaulting him and also snatched away his phone. PSI Sayyed then told Mr. Khan that he is going to arrest him, to which Mr. Khan protested saying he was just doing his work and that they could take his phone but there was no reason to arrest him. Mr. Sayyed however started pushing Mr. Khan and forcibly detainig him. At that time, Mr. Parmar who was on his way to cover the same story, reached the police station. He saw Mr. Khan being forcibly taken by the police and heard Mr. Khan shouting for help and asking him to inform his boss, Mr. Sahil Joshi at Aaj Tak. Mr. Parmar immediately put a message out on the whatsapp group of the Palghar District Patrakar Sangh (PDPS) and went inside to inquire on Mr. Khan’s illegal detention when he too was dragged and threatened with arrest, and so he went outside the police station. Later upon the arrival of other fellow journalists from PDPS, Superintendent of Police Manjunath Shinde assured them that there was no substance in the allegations and no case would be filed.
At 5.40 a.m. in the morning on June 22, 2018, the police arrived at Mr. Ram Parmar’s residence and arrested him. An F.I.R. was filed at 6.25 a.m. against both the journalists under Sections 353 and 332 of the IPC. After four days in custody, they were released on bail only on June 26, 2018. Although they were granted bail by the Sessions Court on June 25, 2018, due to a power failure the bail order could not be typed on the same day. The alleged incident of assault is supposed to have taken place within the premises of the Palghar police station, which is equipped with CCTV cameras. However, PSI Sayyed’s allegations of assault cannot be verified since the police now claim that no images are available as the footage has corrupted. The counter-claim of the journalists is that, it was the PSI Sayyed who had assaulted them.
HRDA prayed for thorough investigation and to take immediate actions on the perpetrators of the case.