RAWALPINDI - Dozens of Rawalpindi Cantonment Board (RCB) staffers on Tuesday thrashed a journalist for detecting some of the staffers taking bribe from the encroachers during a drive launched at Chungi Number 22.

The victim approached Police Station RA Bazaar for legal action against the staff of RCB while the journalist bodies also condemned the incident and demanded of City Police Officer Azhar Hameed Khokher to take action against the culprits.

However, Chief Executive Officer Rana Manzoor turned a deaf ear towards the sadistic issue and did not take any action against his team. According to details, RCB Anti-Encroachment Department Head Fayyaz Khan along with dozens of other staffers carried out an operation against the vendors, hand-pushcart owners and other encroachers at Chungi Number 22 and on Tench Road. A journalist namely Chaudhry Tahir reached there for coverage.

During the coverage of the operation, Tahir noticed some RCB staffers taking bribe from some vendors to let them run their businesses. On this, Tahir approached Fayyaz Khan and asked as to why the operation was being conducted on discriminatory basis and tried to get his point of view.

Instead of replying, Fayyaz called his dozens of staffers and started beating the journalist. The journalist showed them the official identity card but the team Incharge snatched the card from him and torn it into pieces and trampled them, all along threatening Chaudhry “We can even beat you to death and dump your body in a garbage heap. Who the hell you are to ask me why my men are receiving bribe?”

Meanwhile, three of RCB Anti-Encroachment Department staffers also snatched Tahir’s mobile phone, Rs 17,300 cash and other important documents.

A vendor, requesting anonymity, disclosed that as the RCB staffers, who were receiving bribe from the encroachers, saw the journalist covering their black deeds they lost their temper and ran over the journalist. They mercilessly tortured the journalist, torn his clothes and deprived him of his valuables.

Tahir Chaudhry later filed an application with PS RA Bazaar SHO Muhammad Arif Gondal pleading legal action against the RCB staffers.

The SHO, taking action, phoned CEO RCB Rana Manzoor, apprised him of the issue and asked to send Fayyaz and his other team member to police station today (Wednesday) at 3:00 p.m. for taking part in the inquiry.

CEO RCB Rana Mazoor, however, when contacted for his version by this scribe, said that all the staff went home as office was closed. “In morning I will look into the matter and will take necessary action,” he added.

On the other hand, National Press Club, Crime and Court Reporters Association Rawalpindi, Rawalpindi/Islamabad Union of Journalists (RIUJ), Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) and Pakistan Media Forum were also informed by the victim journalist about the blatant abuse of powers by the RCB staff and violation of journalists’ professional rights.

Journalistic bodies have condemned the incident and have demanded of the quarters concerned to take action against the staff involved in manhandling the journalist.