In the run-up to the Assembly polls, Delhi Police has prohibited shooting of TV debates in public spaces after a violent clash between Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) activists in south Delhi’s Tughlakabad area on January 3 left at least 12 people injured.
A decision in this regard was taken during a meeting of the Delhi Police brass as it was observed that shoots of such TV debates often lead to trouble. The instructions forbidding such shoots have been conveyed to all district DCPs, police said.
When district DCPs started declining requests by news channels for shoot of TV debates in their areas, the representatives of TV channels met Special Commissioner (Law and Order) Deepak Mishra and even Police Commissioner BS Bassi with their pleas, but they were told a firm no everywhere.
When television reporters asked Bassi about the virtual ban on shoot of such debates, he said, “We always seek your cooperation, in this issue also we are taking your support so that law and order can be maintained in a better way. You are helping us by not holding debates on streets and doing them at halls and studios.
“Where there is a one-on-one confrontation, a debate, tempers do run high. This is a precaution (to maintain law and order) and you are helping us in this regard for which I am thankful to you,” he added.
Senior police officials maintained that TV channels invite the candidates of the various parties along with their supporters for such shoots during which, amid allegations and counter allegations, things gradually heat up and usually end up in harsh confrontations.
“We have seen many times that such shoots end up in open confrontation leading to a law and order situation where we have to do the mop up job,” said a senior police official.
“We already have our hands full with security arrangements for Republic Day celebrations where US President Barack Obama will be the chief guest. Security for his stay and movement will also be a major challenge for us while we also have various poll-related duties. In such a scenario, we cannot assign our men for deployment for such TV debate shoots,” he added.
On Jan 3, a car belonging to AAP’s Tughlakabad candidate Sahi Ram was set ablaze and at least 12 people were injured in a clash between supporters of his party and BJP activists during the shoot of a TV news debate in which leaders of both the parties got into a heated argument.
Police has registered FIRs against supporters of both the parties in connection with the clash.