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Feb 10, 2013 at 07:59pm IST

Policemen who detained Iftikhar Gilani should be suspended, Katju writes to Home Secretary

New Delhi: Press Council chairman Justice Markandey Katju has hit out at the Union Home Ministry over detention of Kashmiri journalist Iftikhar Gilani. In a hard-hitting letter to Union Home Secretary RK Singh, Katju condemned Iftikhar's detention and said that policemen who were involved in the "illegal act" should be suspended and prosecuted.

Iftikhar, son-in-law of Kashmiri separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, and his family were on Saturday detained by Delhi Police a few hours after Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru was hanged in Tihar Jail. They were, however, released later.

The Editors Guild of India also condemned his detention saying the Delhi Police owned him an apology. "The police gave no reason for their unwarranted action. It is a matter of relief that he was released after protests by various journalist bodies and individual journalists, and the resultant intervention by the ministry of home affairs," the Guild said in a statement on Sunday.

"The police owe an apology to (Iftikhar) Gilani and his family and the assurance that he will not be harassed in the future or prevented from carrying out his journalistic duties again," it said. Iftikhar had on Saturday claimed that he and his family members were kept in detention following Guru's execution. Police have, however, denied the claim.

The Guild also expressed concerns over the restrictions on newspapers in Srinagar for the past two days. According to information received in Delhi, newspapers in the Valley have been asked not to print or circulate their editions. "That newspapers have not been able to upload their online editions impinges on their constitutional right to freedom of expression. The Guild calls upon the government of Jammu and Kashmir to end all such restrictions, so that newspapers in the state can work without any fetters," it added.

(With additional information from IANS)