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Caravan reporters allege assault in Northeast Delhi

Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Roshneesh Kmaneck
Last updated on: August 12, 2020 22:53 IST
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The police on Wednesday said it has received a complaint from a news magazine that three of its journalists, including a woman, were assaulted by a mob in northeast Delhi, where they had gone to report on the riots that had taken place in February.

'The Caravan' magazine said the incident took place on Tuesday afternoon.

"We have received complaints from both sides (magazine and locals)," Joint Commissioner of Police (eastern range) Alok Kumar said.


Later, the police in a statement said the investigation is being conducted in "right earnest" on all matters received in the police station.

The magazine, in a series of tweets on Tuesday, said, "Today afternoon, in the Subhash Mohalla locality in north-east Delhi, a group of men and women assaulted three staffers of @thecaravanindia @Prabhtalks @shahidtantray and a third staff member, to stop them from reporting."

The magazine alleged that the mob assaulted Shahid Tantray, Prabhjit Singh and the woman journalist, threatened to kill them and also used communal slurs.

In a statement, the Caravan claimed the incident began while the journalists were taking photographs of saffron flags that had been put up in the area, but some men approached them and told them to stop.

"One of the men, who was wearing a saffron kurta and had a bandage on his arm, identified himself as a 'BJP general secretary'. He asked Tantray for his identity card. The mob launched their attack upon realising that Tantray was Muslim," the statement claimed.

When Singh tried to intervene, the mob kicked him as well, the statement alleged.

"The mob threatened to break the camera the journalists were using, at which point Tantray offered to delete all the pictures he had taken. He then did so in front of his attackers. When the mob persisted with its threats to break the camera, Tantray was forced to give up its memory card.

"Singh recalled that the man who claimed to be affiliated to the BJP told the journalists that they would not be able to do anything to him," the statement alleged.

Delhi Bharatiya Janatsa Party media cell head Ashok Goel rubbished the allegations, saying party leaders and workers do not get involved in such incidents.

"We condemn the incident but the BJP people do not get involved in such incidents. Police should investigate who were the perpetrators and then take stringent action against them," Goel said.

During her attempt to get away from the attack, the woman journalist faced sexual harassment from a middle-aged man and later, the mob attacked her as well, the statement claimed.

The assault on The Caravan's journalists is a "grave attack" on press freedom and the freedom of speech enshrined in the Constitution, the magazine said.

"Tuesday's attack on three Caravan journalists who reported doggedly on the violence in northeast Delhi is an attack on journalism and free and fair reporting," Vinod Jose, the executive editor of The Caravan, said.

"We expect the police and the judiciary to act fearlessly in punishing the mob that assaulted and sexually harassed journalists, and deleted valuable interviews and images from the journalists' camera. The violence and sexual harassment faced by our woman colleague is among the most shocking and offensive attacks on a woman journalist in India in a long time," he alleged.

Later in the evening, the police in a statement said the Caravan journalists were taking pictures which led to heated exchange of words between them and locals.

"The police personnel acted swiftly and brought media persons to the police station. Taking pictures without consent may provoke those present and create law and order problems, including communal problems," the statement from the police said.

Appropriate legal or preventive action is taken on any complaint received in the police station as per law and procedures irrespective of faith or religion of the complainant, it said.

"To suggest otherwise, is a deliberate attempt to malign Delhi Police's image and is totally biased and unsubstantiated," it added.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Roshneesh Kmaneck© Copyright 2020 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.