Three journalists including a female journalist from The Caravan were physically manhandled, sexually abused and received death threats by a Hindu mob in North East Delhi including local leaders of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday while they were covering a story about an anti-Muslim atmosphere that broke out in the area on the night of August 5, following the foundation-laying ceremony of the Ram temple in Ayodhya.
“Today afternoon, in the Subhash Mohalla locality in north-east Delhi, a group of men and women assaulted three staffers of The Caravan, Prabhjit Singh, Shahid Tantray and a third staff member—to stop them from reporting,” The Caravan tweeted on Tuesday.
The mob physically assaulted the journalists threatened to kill them, and used anti-Muslim slurs.
“Three Caravan journalists who relentlessly pursued Delhi’s targeted violence, its later cover up, and the roles played by the police and politicians, were attacked yesterday evening by a mob. A woman journalist was sexually harassed. Complaints are filed. But no FIR yet,” Vinod K Jose, the executive editor of The Caravan said in a tweet.
One among the mob, dressed in a saffron kurta, claimed he was the BJP general secretary.
Upon learning Shahid Tantray ’s name, the mob including BJP leader began beating him and used anti-Muslim slurs against him. Tantray, who is an assistant photo editor at The Caravan also received death threats from the Hindu mob.
Local police personnel subsequently managed to take the journalists to the nearby Bhajanpura station.
In his complaint, Prabhjit Singh wrote that were he not present, “the mob led by that saffron-clad man would have lynched Shahid for his Muslim identity.”
According to the complaint, the woman journalist was sexually harassed and physically assaulted. After the Hindu mob began attacking her, Tantray and Singh, she managed to extricate herself and escape to a neighboring gully.
Young men surrounded her and took her pictures and videos without her consent, and verbally harassed her. A middle-aged man exposed his genitals to her, shook his penis, and made lewd facial expressions at her, the complaint reads.
“As she ran and attempted to reach the Bhajanpura station, the mob attacked her again. The attackers beat her on her head, arms, hips and chest. The man in the saffron kurta was among them, as were two women,” The Caravan tweeted.
The members of the mob even followed the journalists to the hospital where they were taken for a medical examination.
2 detailed complaints by attacked journalists have been received by the Delhi Police on Tuesday, one is a case of assault, the second, a grave charge of sexual harassment of woman journalist. No FIR has been registered.
“This is unprecedented. in 25 years of journalism have not encountered this level of public depravity,” Hartosh Singh Bal, the political editor at The Caravan said.
On Tuesday, Singh and Tantray had reported in The Caravan about two women and a teenage girl who had accused the Delhi Police in Bhajanpura of sexually assaulting them on 8 August, when they had gone to file a complaint about the people who had shouted the slogans at midnight, asking Muslim people in the area to leave the neighbourhood.