At least 50 people, including nine scribes and photo journalists, were injured when police baton-charged a group of people protesting the brutal murder of a seven-year-old student in Ryan International School here and demanding the arrest of the school management.
A liquor vend near the school was also set on fire.
The police used force to disperse the protestors who were agitating outside the school in Bhondsi in the wake of the murder of class 2 student Pradhuman, who was on Friday found in the washroom with his throat slit.
“We were protesting peacefully outside the school but police suddenly baton-charged us without any provocation,” said a protestor.
The journalists covering the protest were also injured.
“TV journalists Sunil Yadav, Sushil Kumar, and photo journalists Yogesh Kumar and Abhishek were injured and have been admitted to the civil hospital,” senior journalist Naveen Panchal told IANS.
“Yogesh Kumar suffered a fracture in his right hand while Abhishek’s left hand was fractured,” he said.
Senior journalist Mahavir Yadav from a national Hindi daily, and fellow journalists Pawan Sethi, Sanjay Chauhan, Lok Kumar and Dinesh Kumar were also injured.
The journalists were targetted after a senior police officer allegedly said that “all this (protest) was happening due to the media coverage”.
An Assistant Commissioner of Police and area SHO also threatened the journalists to leave the place.
Cameras were also damaged during the police action. Several Press Clubs, Press Associations and social bodies across the state have condemned the police action.
Former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda visited the hospital to meet the injured journalists.
“Attack on media was pre-planned and BJP workers and leaders were behind it. Journalists will not get proper treatment in the hospital because it is also run by the state government,” he said.
Later, Deputy Commissioner Vinay Pratap Singh and Additional Deputy Commissioner Pradeep Dahiya also visited the hospital.
A group of angry protestors also set fire to a liquor vend, located less than 50 metres from the school.
This came even as Haryana Education Minister Rambilas Sharma was announcing in a press conference that the licence of the liquor vend has been cancelled.
Meanwhile, Varun Thakur, father of the murdered student, appealed to people not to get violent during the protests.
“We must protest in a peaceful manner,” he said.
Police late on Friday arrested Ashok Kumar, a conductor of a school bus, for allegedly killing the child, but many believe that he was only a scapegoat.