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Leg Cuffing Illegal; Police

Balasore: Finally Odisha Police admitted that leg cuffing of an arrested journalist during treatment at a hospital in Balasore district as “Illegal and violation of human rights” and placed a Havildar under suspension while shifting two women officers in wake of massive outcry across the state.

The police action came a day after a state wide outrage over the alleged manhandling and chaining of a local journalist during treatment after his arrest in a case. The journalist of a local news channel was allegedly beaten up at Nilgiri police station and subsequently shifted to Balasore district headquarters hospital after he lost consciousness.

A video showing journalist Loknath Dalei’s leg being chained to the hospital bed, went viral sparking a statewide outcry. The police, however, removed the leg cuffs immediately after news channels showed the picture on Thursday.

Inspector General of Police (IGP) Narasingha Bhol, who is also in charge of the Eastern Range, said: “The matter has been taken very seriously. A DSP rank officer is heading the investigation. It is an unfortunate incident and illegal to chain the accused to hospital bed. It is also a violation of human rights. One Havildar has been placed under suspension. If need be, action will be taken against IIC on the basis of the probe.”

Bhol also informed that Nilgiri Police Station Inspector Draupadi Das and investigating officer Subarna Behera, have been transferred to the Police Distrct Headquarters till completion of the probe into the incident of leg cuffing a journalist to hospital bed.

Meanwhile, taking suo motu cognizance of the incident, the Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC) has directed IG (Eastern Range) to submit a report in connection with chaining of a journalist during treatment in a hospital in Balasore district.

The rights body also asked the IG to submit a report within 15 days following a thorough probe of the circumstances that led to the incident.

The chief district medical and public health officer (CDM & PHO) of Balasore has also been asked to submit a report by April 26.

Dalei was arrested on Wednesday on the charge of assaulting a home guard in Nilgiri market on April 4. He, however, denied it, while claiming that only he had hit the homeguard’s vehicle unintentionally with his motorcycle.

The journalist claimed that on April 5, he was asked to come to Nilgiri police station, where his mobile phone was snatched away and he was thrashed by inspector-in-charge Draupadi Das.

Meanwhile, members of the Media in different districts and also in the State Capital staged protest rallies condemning the incident and demanded immediate suspension of the Inspector-In-Charge(IIC) of Nilgiri Police Station.