Photographs of a group of half-naked men standing at a police station in Madhya Pradesh have surfaced on social media wherein a local YouTube journalist, Kanishk Tiwari, could be seen as well.
According to Tiwari, he along with others were arrested while they had gone to the police station to enquire about Neeraj Kunder — a theatre artiste arrested for allegedly using abusive language against a BJP legislator and his son.
The men, including Tiwari, were arrested for protesting against Kunder's arrest. A police officer said that during the protest, they sat on a road, "disrupting the movement of the public".
The photographs that appeared on social media are from a police station in Sidhi district that were reportedly clicked on April 2.
Tiwari told IANS that he along with others were protesting against the arrest of Neeraj Kunder, whom the police had arrested based on an FIR lodged by BJP MLA from Sidhi, Kedarnath Shukla.
Tiwari claimed that he along with his cameraperson had gone to the police station to ask about Kunder's arrest on the request of the theatre artiste's father.
However, the police arrested him and kept him in the lockup for over 18 hours, and "beat him up badly".
"I am working as a freelance journalist and recently I had filed a report that was deemed to be against Kedarnath Shukla and because of that news, I was targeted," Tiwari said.
Meanwhile, a video that surfaced on social media suggests Tiwari along with others were protesting outside the police station.
In the video, sloganeering was heard against MLA Shuka and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
The police personnel present at the site were seen taking them to the police station.
The video also shows that the protesters were thrashed by the police.
To inquire about the authenticity of the photos and videos, IANS spoke to Sidhi Superintendent of Police, Mukesh Srivastava.
He said Kedarnath Shukla had lodged an FIR against Neeraj Kunder, alleging that he had been sharing fake news, and using abusive language against him and his family.
Srivastava said the FIR was lodged on March 16 and on the basis of his complaint, the matter was investigated.
"During investigation, it was found that Kunder had created an account on Facebook with a fake identity. We have also sought an inquiry report from Facebook and we were told that the account was created using a fake ID. Subsequently, he was arrested on April 2 and presented at the court," Srivastava added.
He further said that on April 3, Tiwari, along with others, sat on protest on a road, disrupting the movement of people.
"The protesters were booked under IPC Section 151 and were kept under preventive detention. They were released on bail on April 3," he added.
Responding on the half-naked photographs that went viral on social media, Srivastava said: "We are inquiring the matter as to who forced them to remove their clothes. We are also inquiring about the involvement of police personnel who allegedly beat them up in the lockup as claimed by Tiwari and others."
IANS also tried to speak to MLA Kedarnath Shukla on this issue. However, all calls to him went unanswered.20220408-001804