Sunday, July 20, 2008

Assault on Journalists in India : Malkangiri and Ahmedabad

Assault on Journalists in India : Malkangiri and Ahmedabad
NBA condemns attack on journalists : New Delhi, July 19, 2008

The News Broadcasters Association (NBA) on Saturday, strongly condemned the attack on journalists by unidentified persons in Ahmedabad and demanded immediate arrest of those responsible behind it.
A group of journalists and cameramen were attacked by unidentified persons when they were covering 'Ahmedabad bandh' following the mysterious death of two children in the ashram of a religious guru. More than 15 journalists were injured during the incident.
"Preventing journalists from performing their duties were violations of the freedom enshrined in and guaranteed by the Constitution," NBA President G Krishnan said in a statement.
He also urged the Gujarat government to ensure a congenial atmosphere for allowing journalists to perform their duties in a free and fearless manner.

The media 100 journalists rally to protest the attack on journalists by supporters of religious guru Asaram Bapu was today stopped by police and several among them were detained.
The journalists were carrying placards condemning the attack on media persons
"Supporters of the Bapu came out with sticks and attacked the media persons. I was also hurt in the attack," Gopi Ghangar, a correspondent of Hindi news channel ‘Aaj Tak', had said
The bodies of the two cousins, Abhishek (11) and Dipesh Vaghela (10), were found on July 5 on the banks of Sabarmati river near Sardar Patel stadium about 2.5 km from Asharam Bapu Gurukul in Motera. Their family members have alleged that the two were murdered. Police have not been able to make any headway in the investigation, causing anger among the locals.

Mob torched vehicles and pelted stones at several places, resenting the tardy pace of police probe into the deaths as almost 18 days had passed since the decomposed bodies of the cousins . The police fired in air, lobbed teargas shells and cane-charged protestors in areas like Nirnaynagar, Naranpura, Ranip, Sabarmati and Motera to control the crowds.

The Gujarat government Saturday ordered a probe into Friday’s attack on scribes who were covering clashes following the mysterious death of two boys at religious leader Asaram Bapu’s ashram, as the state’s Home Minister Amit Shah said the culprits would be punished. “The attack on media persons is intolerable and we are trying to trace those behind it,” Shah said. “We have ordered an inquiry and if the attackers were from the Asaram Ashram, they will not be spared and all necessary legal steps will be taken. Such attacks can never be justified.”
Ahmedabad City Police Commissioner O.P. Mathur said the people who attacked journalists during the Ahmedabad shutodwn would be be identified from various photographs published in the print media and coverage in the electronic media. The culprits would be punished, he added.
Journalists in Ahmedabad gave a memorandum to District Collector Hareet Shukla demanding strict action against the attackers. Several organisations of journalists in different districts of the state also submitted memoranda to respective collectors.

Various religious leaders also came out in support of the journalists. “If a gurukul cannot protect its children, then it should be closed. Asaram is giving a bad name to other saints. He should now immediately come forward to help police in the matter,” Bharat Sadhu Samaj vice president Ramvilasdasji said.
Source: Press Trust Of India

Reporters risk their life in naxalite regions
Journalists attacked, injured in Malkangiri district while covering police event

IFJ Condemns Police Assault on Journalists in India. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is alarmed to learn of an attack on journalists by police personnel in Malkangiri district in the Indian state of Orissa, site of the most recent incident of violence involving a long-running Maoist insurgency.
On July 17, according to information received from IFJ affiliates in India, police personnel conducting a guard of honour for colleagues killed the previous day in a Maoist landmine attack, began an unprovoked attack on journalists gathered to cover the event.
The General Secretary of the Indian Journalists' Union (IJU), K. Sreenivas Reddy, informed the IFJ that the police seemed to target journalists from other states. Cameras were snatched and damaged while vehicles were ransacked.
It is customary for news organisations to assign journalists from neighbouring states to cover events in Malkangiri, both because the district is near a three-way junction of state boundaries and because the Maoist insurgency is a problem common to all three states.
Prasanna Mohanty, Vice President of the National Union of Journalists of India (NUJI), said that Anil Reddy, a reporter with the news channel TV9, based in Bhadrachalam in the neighbouring state of Andhra Pradesh, was seriously injured in the incident. Shaikh Maqbool, a reporter with the Hindi daily Nai Duniya, based in Dantewada in Chattisgarh state, was also hurt, as was M.V. Chari, a reporter with the Telugu language daily,
Vishal Andhra. The three journalists are receiving treatment at a hospital in the district headquarters town of Malkangiri.
The IFJ strongly endorses its affiliates' letters of protest which have been lodged with the chief minister of Orissa.

For further information, contact IFJ Asia-Pacific, tel: +612 9333 0919; or the IFJ, International Press Centre, Residence Palace, Block C, 155 Rue de la Loi, B-1040 Brussels, Belgium, tel: +322 235 2200 / 2207, fax: +322 235 2219, e-mail: , Internet:
several journalists attacked by police after Maoist violence
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