New Delhi: Terming as "unfortunate" the detention of journalist Iftekhar Gilani by Delhi Police, Information and Broadcasting minister Manish Tewari on Monday said if there is evidence against him, it should be brought on record or else action should be taken against responsible police officials.
Gilani, the son-in-law of Kashmiri separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, was detained by Delhi Police for 10 hours following the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru on February 9.
"It is most unfortunate that Mr Gilani had to be subjected to these rigours when there was no alleged misdemeanour on his part...police should have been more careful. If at all there is any evidence, it should be brought on record and otherwise action should be taken against police officials," Tewari told reporters in New Delhi.
In response to another question about certain remarks made by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee against journalists, Tewari said media persons are an integral part of the country's democratic process and should be treated with respect.
"I think journalists are an integral part of our democratic process. They are as important to democracy as the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. They are really the fourth pillar of the very unique and diverse democratic tradition of this country, and I think we must treat our journalistic fraternity with due respect and regard," he said.
"At times, they are irreverent, at times intemperate also, but then the freedom of expression and speech involves also the right to offend and we must keep that within our purview," Tewari added.
To a question related to Allahabad kumbh Mela stampede, he said it was a painful incident and the Prime Minister had already said that whatever steps the central government can take in this regard will be taken.