Scribes: Let off only after we revealed our identity

Scribes: Let off only after we revealed our identity

Aditi Tandon

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 25

Several journalists found themselves in the crosshairs of rioters with two of them sustaining severe injuries. Akash Napa with JK 24X7 channel sustained a bullet injury in his shoulder while covering an agitation in northeast Delhi. Admitted to a hospital, he said, “The mobs were chanting incendiary slogans as they fired.”

At another location, TV journalists Arvind Gunasekar, Saurabh Shukla and Runjhun Sharma found themselves at the mercy of attackers, who spotted the trip recording incidents or arson targeting a Muslim burial site. Gunasekar was hit with rods and sticks. He lost three teeth. Speaking to The Tribune, Gunasekar said the mobs let them off only after they revealed their religious identities.

“We saw a mob attacking a graveyard at Meet Nagar and went there to shoot it. The vandals surrounded us. They started assaulting me and raised ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogans. I was wearing a black shirt and I think they mistook me for a member of another community. The attackers snatched my phone and deleted the video evidence of arson. They let us off only after deleting all footage and after establishing our identities,” Gunasekar said.

Gunasekar’s colleagues Saurabh Shukla and Runjhun Sharma were heckled. “We saw houses were burnt at Karawal Nagar and Gokulpuri. We also heard of attempts being made to bring down a religious structure,” said Shukla, confirming that the rioters were checking identity cards to ascertain religion. Runjhun Sharma kept pleading with mobs at Maujpur to let off her friends.

Condemning the assault on journalists, the Press Club of India and Indian Women’s Press Corps issued a statement: “Several journalists have been hospitalised. They have been punched and attacked by communal mobs and the police were either absent or did not come to help. Shockingly, mobs were checking religious credentials of journalists... A lethargic police and politicians instigating communal violence cannot escape blame for the attacks.”

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