Friday, December 8, 2023

Journalists attacked at Hindu Mahapanchayat; Delhi Police registers two FIRs

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Delhi Police have registered two FIRs in connection with the attack on seven journalists by a Hindu mob at a hate conclave in national capital on Sunday.

Journalists who were on assignment to cover Hindu Mahapanchayat in New Delhi’s Burari ground have been assaulted by Hindutva groups. Five journalists, including four Muslim journalists, were escorted away by the police after they were targeted by Hindutva groups after being asked their religious identity.

Arbab Ali, Meer Faisal, Shahid Tantry, Md Meherban and Meghnad Bose are the journalists targeted by assailants. Shivangi Saxena and Ronak Bhatt of NewsLaundry were also assaulted by the audience.

The first FIR was first based on a complaint filed by Newslaundry’s Saxena, who had complained that she and one of her colleagues were “manhandled and assaulted” during the event.

“I was recording the incident while doing that, I was pulled back and groped by unknown men who tried to snatch my mobile,” Saxena had said in her complaint. “His [her colleague’s] press ID was snatched from him,” she said.

She also said in the complaint that Preet Singh, a Hindutva activist and the main organiser of Hindu Mahapanchayat had called out her name from the stage of the event and identified her as the journalist whose report was used as video evidence to put him in jail in August. Singh was one of the men arrested for chanting genocidal slogans against Muslims at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar in August last year.

The second FIR was filed on the complaint by freelance Arbab Ali, who said in the complaint that he and Meer Faisal were interviewing people at the event when they were attacked and harassed.

The FIR was filed under Sections 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 341 (wrongful restraint) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code.

“We were called jihadis and attacked for being Muslims,” Arbab Ali, an independent journalist tweeted about the attack.

Journalists claim that their video footage was deleted.

Ali alleged that Meer Faisal and he were made to sit separately and delete the videos they had shot at the event. Faisal was allegedly hit on his head and Ali pushed around.

“The mob started saying that ‘we should be beaten for this” as if covering the event was a crime and being Muslim is a crime,” Ali said.
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