Journalists stripped, detained by police for reporting on BJP MLA in Madhya Pradesh

A post showing a group of men, including journalists, Youtubers and theatre artists, stripped down to their underwears inside Kotwali police station in Sidhi, Madhya Pradesh has gone viral. Background One among the arrested was local YouTube journalist Kanishk Tiwari who had gone to the police station to cover the protest against the arrest of theatre artist Neeraj Kunder for making alleged indecent remarks against BJP MLA Kedarnath Shukla and his son Kedar Guru Dutt Shukla using a fake Facebook profile. Kunder is the director of Indravati Natya Samiti in Sidhi district, and has reportedly been working to saving the art of Vindhyas, according to The Quint . Kunder was arrested on 2 April following complaints from the politicians. After the arrest, his parents reached the police station along with locals and a few theatre artists. Tiwari, Free Press Journal reports, claimed that the police arrested them and kept them in lock-up for around 18 hours. They were severely beaten and were asked to remove their clothes. He claimed he and his camera person were arrested and charged with several sections, including trespassing and disturbance of public peace. "Why are you running stories against the MLA?" he was allegedly asked by the police. Tiwari runs a local Youtube channel mpsandeshnews24 besides provides inputs to News Nation media channel. Police's point of view But the superintendent of police Mukesh Kumar Shrivastava said that they were not journalists but miscreants. They reached the police station and created a ruckus over the arrest of Kunder. Tiwari and others were kept in preventive detention and later they were arrested under the IPC section 151. They were released on bail on 3 April, Shrivastva added. Tiwari, however, claimed that he reached there to cover the development in the Neeraj arrest case. But he was assaulted and shamed because of his past coverage of the local politicians and police actions in the district. According to a  NDTV report, the photo, was clicked by the in-charge of the police station, Abhishek Singh Parihar, who, Tiwari said, "threatened to parade us naked in the city if we run the story. The police made the post viral. This is a violation of our human rights." Opposition reaction The Congress has targetted the BJP on the issue. Former minister Jaivardhan Singh took to twitter to register his protest. He wrote in Hindi, "This is a picture of a police station in Sidhi district of MP. This half-naked youth is not a thief, he is a companion of the media called the fourth pillar of democracy, he was stripped down and put in jail because he had run news against the BJP MLA" यह मप्र के सीधी जिले के पुलिस थाने की तस्वीर है। यह अर्धनग्न युवा कोई चोर उचक्के नहीं है, ये लोकतंत्र के चौथा स्तंभ कहे जाने वाले मीडिया के साथी है, इन्हें अर्धनग्न कर जेल में इसलिए डाला गया क्योंकि इन्होंने भाजपा विधायक के खिलाफ खबर चलाई थी। — Jaivardhan Singh (@JVSinghINC) April 7, 2022 Congress MLA PC Sharma too took to Twitter stating that "Questioning the state's incompetence and their bigoted chieftain, senior journalist Kanishk Tiwari and his associates of Sidhi Bagheli news channel had a hard time. They stripped down and made to stand in the police station, it is a very condemnable act... Shivraj Singh's government is now adopting oppressive attitude like the British." प्रदेश की निकम्मी और उनके बड़बोले मुखिया से सवाल करना सीधी बघेली न्यूज़ चैनल के वरिष्ठ पत्रकार कनिष्क तिवारी और उनके साथियों को भारी पड़ा... नग्न कर उन्हें थाने में खडा़ किया गया ,है घोर निंदनीय कृत्य है... शिवराज सिंह सरकार अब अंग्रेजों की भांति दमनकारी रवैया अपना रही है॥ — P. C. Sharma (@pcsharmainc) April 7, 2022 Trinamool Congress minister Indranil Sen also took potshots at the Shivraj Singh Chauhan-led govertment:   STATE OF JOURNALISTS IN @BJP4India RULED STATES!!! Utterly disgraceful that BJP can find NO RESPECT for the Fourth Pillar of Democracy! From Tripura to Madhya Pradesh - same story in every BJP ruled state... SHAME. — Indranil Sen (@Indrani39664132) April 7, 2022 With input from agencies //
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