Journalists manhandled

New Delhi: A team of Doordarshan journalists was today allegedly threatened and manhandled by some people at the Nigambodh Ghat while they were shooting for a story on the `illegal` semi-VIP pyre system said to be in vogue there.

Doordarshan reporter Mohammad Aquid and cameraperson Ramesh were at Nigambodh Ghat to investigate whether the semi-VIP pyre system was still in place despite a police complaint filed by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and flak from the Central Information Commission to MCD in this regard. “After the Central Information Commission order, we were trying to investigate whether the system of illegal semi-VIP culture was still in place. During the shooting some people coming out of the crematorium turned hostile. One of them claiming to be the PA of a local leader tried to snatch documents and camera from our team and even they threatened with dire consequences if we pursued the story”, Aquid told.

He said that a complaint has been filed at the the Kashmiri Gate police station in this regard. However, Chairman, Arya Samaj, Lodhi Road, B P Gupta said,”There is no semi-VIP pyre system now. But sometimes influential people come. We cannot stop them from using the pyre platforms.” We want to give up the management of Nigambodh Ghat. But no no action has been taken on our request,” he said. The management of Nigambodh Ghat was given to Arya Samaj, Lodhi Road since 2003 by the MCD. It has been alleged that they had started a system of semi-VIP pyres which are allotted to influential people after pocketing money. In this regard, activist Subhash Agrawal had filed a number of RTI applications with the MCD and Arya Samaj on which the civic body has accepted that these semi-VIP pyres were illegal and even filed a complaint with Delhi Police.

Recently, during a hearing at the Central Information Commission, the Arya Samaj management has claimed that they have no option but to surrender the management to MCD because of “unbearable circumstances, including undesired pressures from time to time, and threat to life of our staff working at Nigambodh Ghat from someone who we cannot practically name.”