Several journalist bodies today condemned the attack on scribes covering the hearing of a sedition case against JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar at a court here, and demanded strict action against the accused, while alleging dereliction of duty on part of the police. The incident attracted huge criticism from the press community with members pressing the Home Ministry to look into the "dereliction of duty" by police, sayin they remained a "mute spectator" during the incident. Observing that it was a matter of "great concern" that attacks on journalists are "going up", the journalist bodies demanded strict action against the attackers. "The IWPC (Indian Women Press Corps) urges strict action against the lawyers and the instigators of the assault on journalists. The inaction by the police also needs to be accounted for. The IWPC urges the Home Ministry to look into the dereliction of duty by the police who were present in the premises. "It is a matter of great concern that attacks on journalists are going up at an alarming rate. The freedom to report fearlessly can only take place in an atmosphere that is free of intimidation and violence," president IWPC, T K Rajalakshmi said in a statement. Noting that the assault took place in full view of the police, the IWPC alleged that women journalists were, "punched, pushed and intimidated" by lawyers in the court room and premises while equipments were also damaged. "Some of the mobiles were looted from journalists as well.
Some lawyers who stepped in to rescue the journalists were also roughed up," the body further alleged. Condemning the attack, Delhi Union of Journalists (DUJ) also demanded action against the attackers and protection for scribes while alleging that the police remained "mute spectators" during the entire incident. "Delhi Union of Journalists strongly condemns the blatant attack on journalists, JNU students and teachers at Patiala House court today. The Delhi police have remained silent spectators. "Even women journalists have been assaulted. We demand that the police protect journalists doing their job. We also demand that take strong action against these violent attackers," it said. The Managing Committee of the Press Club of India also condemned the attack, saying jouranlist's freedom of expression should be protected as guaranteed by the Constitution.