Rijiju promises action over attack on journalists

New Delhi, Feb 17 (IANS) Under fire for his attempt to play down Monday’s attack on journalists in the Patiala House Court, Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju on Wednesday accepted that it was “a serious matter” and that the police would act against those involved.

On a day that saw fresh attacks on reporters, Rijiju said his comment on the subject had been misinterpreted, adding he did not “mean to dilute the seriousness of the attack on journalists”.

In an interview to a TV channel, Rijiju had defended Delhi Police chief B.S. Bassi’s description of the attack on journalists as a minor scuffle, by asking: “But was there a murder? I don’t know.”

The journalists were in the court to report the appearance of JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar, accused of sedition for allegedly raising anti-India slogans at an event at the Jawaharlal Nehru University on February 9.

Kumar was on Wednesday remanded in judicial custody till March 2.

Rijiju told IANS on the sidelines of a reception hosted by Bassi to mark the Delhi Police Raising Day: “My comment was misinterpreted… Whether murder or a scuffle, it needs to be taken seriously.

“Who can say that any beating of journalists is not a serious matter?” he asked, adding that the police were looking into the matter and “let us wait for the report to come”.

Asked why the police were pressing sedition charges on Kumar when courts rarely ever uphold such charges, the junior home minister said: “It is for the police to make the case… And it is for the courts to decide whether he case stands or not.”

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