DCB president tells scribes to ‘get out’ of board meeting

Journalists covering the Dehu Road Cantonment Board area have sent a complaint against the board president to the Ministry of Defence, Press Council of India and the Southern Command for allegedly insulting them and violating the CantonmentAct. The complaint, sent two days ago by the Maharashtra Rajya Patrakar Sangh, has sought action against DCB president Brig S P Goswami and demanded that their "democratic rights being trampled by the board" be restored.

Goswami has not been allowing scribes to attend the board meetings for last five-six months. Journalists have accused him of insulting them by asking them to "get out" from the December 10 meeting.

The journalists argued that they have been attending monthly board meetings for years, but the "sudden and arbitrary decision" by the board president has baffled them. Somnath Deshkhar, president of the Maharashtra Rajya Patrakar Sangh, Pune unit, said, "On December 10, a delegation of around 20 journalists had gone to the board office to meet the president and submit a letter protesting against his refusal to allow them to attend board meetings since July. The president sent a message that the letter should be put in the postal box."

Deshkar said when they went to the meeting hall, the president shouted. "He said... andhar mat aana...get out from here," said Deshkar. Photo journalists took snaps of Goswami gesturing them to get out. Another journalist Umesh Ovhal said it all began on July 25 when the board was supposed to discuss an illegal construction by a corporator whose suspension from DCB was on the agenda.

"The president asked us to get out of the hall. From then on three meetings were held, but we have not been allowed," he said.

Journalist Mukund Parandwal said the board has cited Section 44 of the Cantonments Act, saying the president wanted to discuss some important topic, therefore, the journalists have been kept away.

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