VELLORE: Several media persons on Friday boycotted the Independence Day programme organised at the Nethaji Stadium, after the police personnel did not permit photojournalists and cameramen of the electronic media to enter the ground to take pictures and visuals. The incident created a flutter during the celebrations.
It all started a few minutes after Collector R Nanthagopal hoisted the tri-colour. A group of photographers took a couple of snaps of the police department’s open inspection jeep, which developed a starting problem due to technical snag. The police personnel pushed the vehicle and tried to start it on the move but their efforts were in vain.
This forced the Collector, who was to go around the stadium in the open jeep from the podium to review the turnover of uniform service personnel, skip the parade. However, the Collector received the guard of honour. On seeing this, a few photographers took pictures of the police personnel pushing the vehicle off the parade ground.
Irked by this, Superintendent of Police of Vellore P Vijayakumar allegedly directed his subordinates to clear the media persons from the ground. The police officers immediately asked the photographers to leave and even pushed a few from the spot.
It led to a heated arguments between the police personnel and media persons. The police personnel, however, vacated the photographers from the parade ground. Objecting to the attitude of the police department, media persons boycotted the event around 9.30 am. A few of the revenue officials and the DSP of Vellore tried to persuade the media persons to come back, but in vain.
The incident left a bad taste among several dignitaries, who had been invited for the celebrations.
“The vehicle developed a mechanical snag at the last minute. It was working and we even conducted repeated rehearsals. The last rehearsal was held 30 minutes before the main event on Friday morning. We will be very cautious to avert such incidents next time,” said Superintendent of Police P Vijayakumar.
On the media persons-police altercation, he said, “ The parade ground has sanctity and it belongs to the parade commander. Others are not allowed during such important events. We asked the photographers to take pictures from the spot marked for them. We will make efforts to avoid such incidents in future,” said the SP.