This Article is From Feb 04, 2021

"Wrote Notes On Legs In Jail For Report": Journalist Mandeep Punia

Journalist Mandeep Punia, whose Twitter bio describes him as a "small journalist" who writes "notes" on grassroot politics, told NDTV that he had talked to farmers lodged in the jail and would soon write a long-form report on it.

Mandeep Punia's arrest had triggered protests by fellow journalists, who demanded his immediate release.

New Delhi:

Journalist Mandeep Punia, whose arrest last week at the Singhu border -- the epicentre of the farmers' protests outside Delhi -- sparked outrage, says he scribbled notes on his legs in Tihar Jail so he could file his reports. The freelance journalist was freed on bail by a Delhi court on Tuesday.

Mr Punia, whose Twitter bio describes him as a "small journalist" who writes "notes" on grassroot politics, told NDTV that he had spoken with farmers jailed with him and would soon write a detailed report.

"I have written journalistic notes on my legs so that I can file a report (on conversation with the farmers)," he said.

"My work is to write reports from ground zero. (Inside jail) I got the chance to talk with the farmers lodged in the jail. I asked them why and how they were arrested."

Cases of "obstructing public servants in discharge of public functions", "assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty", and "voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty", have been filed against Mr Punia.

Mr Punia's arrest had triggered protests -- both on social media and outside the Delhi Police headquarters -- by his fellow journalists, who demanded his immediate release.

The opposition Congress had also slammed the government for arresting Mr Punia. "Those who fear the truth arrest true journalists," senior party leader Rahul Gandhi had tweeted.

Mr Punia shared with NDTV: "I never thought I would be interviewed as I have always been on the other side of the camera. I do what is called slow journalism in India. My work involves writing ground reports from rural areas. I write long form stories... since the government pressured me so much, I am in front of you".

On Wednesday, Mr Punia wrote on Twitter that he should not have been arrested. "I have been given bail and I am thankful to the honorable court, but I should not have been arrested in the first place," he tweeted.