The stories that triggered the violence

BY GEETA SESHU| IN Media Freedom | 30/04/2017
We analyse the reasons for attacks on journalists and who the perpetrators were for the period January 2016 to April 2017.
GEETA SESHU breaks up the data

AFP photographer Tauseef Mustafa being assaulted by polcemen on March 16, 2017.  Photo credit: Faisal Khan

 

The data below lists the perpetrators and victims for the period January 2016 to April 2017.

 

ATTACKS

Drug peddlers

  1. Chandran, reporter with Polimer TV, 23.02.2017,Madurai, Tamil Nadu.

Actors and their bodyguards; film crew

  1. TV journalists covering Sanjay Dutt shoot, 08.03.2017, Agra, Uttar Pradesh;
  2. Two photojournalists covering Rajnikanth’s film shoot25.03.2017, Chennai, Tamil Nadu.

ABVP members

  1. Five journalists assaulted in Ramjas College protests, Feb 22, 2017;
  2. Journalist from Times of India, Ibrar, and several students, injured in attack by ABVP students in a Delhi University public meeting called ‘The Idea of a University’, 27.10, 2016, Delhi
  3. Senior journalist Siddharth Varadarajan held hostage along with Allahabad University student union president Richa Singh, 21.01.2016, Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh.

Illegal construction industry

  1. Rural journalist, Saroj Kumar Dixit, 07.01.2016, Aul, Orissa;
  2. Television journalist Rajkumar Mishra23.01.2016, Nalanda, Bihar;
  3. Journalist  Siddharth Kamble attacked by Nur Nisha, Khalil Shaikh, Jakir, Ashfak and one unidentified person for writing against illegal construction activity, 07.06.2016, Bhiwandi, Maharashtra.

 

Unconfirmed motives, cases under investigation

  1. Three journalists attacked by Maisnam Dujon Singh, 13.01.2016 Imphal;
  2. Manoj Sahoo, reporter of an Odia news channel,25.01.2016, Bhubaneswar, Orissa;
  3. Journalist Rajesh Tiwari, bureau chief of news channel India News, 18.04.2016, Nagpur, Maharashtra.

 

Liquor mafia

  1. 1. N A Saha Ansari, editor of “Namaskar’ fortnightly magazine in Odia and a community radio station as well as a well-known RTI activist, was attacked by miscreants in Raulapatna village for complaining against the local liquor mafia. 13.01.2016, Konark, Odisha.
  2. 2. Mediapersons attacked with sticks and swords when investigating reports of kidnapping of local resident Shiv Kumar who was fighting illegal liquor sale, 31.05.2016, Satna, Madhya Pradesh.

 

Gujarat riot convict Suresh Chhara

  1.   Journalist Revati Laul writing on convicted in Naroda Patiya case, slapped and punched, 21.01.2016, Ahmedabad, Gujarat.

 

Police

  1. Video-camera of senior cameraperson Kiran Verma snatched by PSO, 28.01.2016, Jammu, Jammu and Kashmir;
  2. Journalists covering rally to protest Rohith Vemula death beaten by Additional DCP Sagar Singh Kalsi and ten constables of Delhi police, 01.02.2016, New Delhi;
  3. Photojournalists beaten while covering detention of separatist leaders Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik, 18.03.2016, Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir;
  4. Three mediapersons -  Srikanth Sharma, chief photo journalist with English daily, Sharanu Gurikar, a video journalist from a local news channel and senior photographer Saggere Radhakrishna from Karnataka Photo News - beaten up by police during protests of garment workers against amendments to the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) Scheme, 22.04.2016, Bengaluru, Karnataka;
  5. Two Dainik Bhaskar journalists, Krishna Mohan Tiwari and Vijay Prabhat Shukla, assaulted and dubbed as “activists” of banned outfit SIMI by three allegedly inebriated officers of the Madhya Pradesh Police, 06.07.2016, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh;
  6. Six journalists and photo-journalists were injured when lathi-charged when they covered the visit of Jharkhand Food Supply and Consumer Affair Minister Saryu Roy to Sitaramdera police station to enquire about the detention of a builder, who had lodged a FIR against a BJP district committee member for allegedly demanding Rs five lakh, 15.04.2016, Jamshedpur;
  7. Four members of Asianet News team at Kozhikode Town police station were assaulted and dragged inside the police station when the team went to get their DSNG vehicle released. Kozhikode Town Sub Inspector Vimod, who was temporarily discharged from duty following the morning incident, assaulted the pressmen. The policemen locked their grill and barred media persons outside the station from taking any visuals, 01.08.2016, Kozhikode, Kerala;
  8. Police attacked journalists during Ramjas College protests, Feb 22, 2017, New Delhi. 
  9. Several photojournalists were beaten and threatened by uniformed men on the afternoon of March 16, 2017  in Srinagar.

 

Corruption by officials

  1. Television journalist Kisan Barai, heckled and assaulted by the secretary of the Unit I Market Association, Gayadhar Swain and his men, 03.02.2016, Bhubaneswar, Orissa; 
  2. Journalists and camerapersons of Maharashtra 1 and IBN-Lokmat channels assaulted by the secretary of the tribal department-sponsored Ahilyadevi Holkar Anudanit Adivasi Ashramshala , Shrikrishana Mate, and his son Mukesh, Ukhali village, 20.07.2016, Nagpur, Maharashtra.

 

Political party leaders/supporters

  1. Times Now reporter Samia and Video Journalist Mukesh Kumar attacked by local Samajwadi leader Nahid Hasan and his aides 09.02.2016, Shamli, Uttar Pradesh;
  2. Nagarjuna Reddy, freelance journalist assaulted by brother of local MLA Amanchi Krishnamohan and his supporters, 11.02.2016, Chirala, Andhra Pradesh;
  3. Staff of Orbit Bus company owned by Prakash Singh Badal assaulted physically-challenged journalist with a vernacular paper, 01.03.2016, Ropar, Punjab;
  4. Staff of bus belonging to Dabwali Transport Company owned by Prakash Singh Badal attack staff correspondent of The Tribune, 26.03.2016, Jalandhar, Punjab;
  5. Journalists P Sivasubramaniam (Nakkheeran) and A M Sekar (Dinakaran) beaten up by R Elangovan, chairman of Tamil Nadu State Head Cooperative Bank and AIADMK members when covering the deaths of two AIADMK functionaries from sun stroke during chief minister J Jayalalithaa's election campaign at Koothadipalayam, Salem district, 25.04.2016, Salem, Tamil Nadu;
  6. Mediapersons attacked and cameras smashed by BJP workers while covering court hearing of BJP party workers involved in poll clashes at the Ottappalam court complex, 18.06.2016, Palakkad, Kerala ;
  7. AAP MP Bhagwant Mann instigates supporters to beat up journalists during election rally, 03.09.2016, New Delhi;
  8. Supporters of Karnataka Excise Minister HY Meti attack  two reporters and a cameraman belonging to a TV channel, 17.12.2016, Bagalkot, Karnataka.

 

Lawyers

  1. Journalists beaten up, their notebooks and phones snatched  while covering court hearing of JNU student Kanhaiya Kumar, 16.02.2016, New Delhi;
  2. Gang of lawyers threatened, beat up and forced journalist to leave courtroom, 14.10.2016, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala;
  3. Lawyers attacked journalists during a protest march and pasted a poster on the media room door of the court that read "no entry for the fourth gender, 23.07.2016, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala; Five lawyers were arrested 19.10.2016;
  4. Manju Kuttikrishnan, a reporter with Malayalam daily Deshabhimani , abused and harassed by lawyers at Ernakulam District Principal and Sessions court while covering the murder case trial of a Dalit woman at Perumbavoor, 08.11.2016, Ernakulam, Kerala.

 

Cow vigilantes

  1. OB vans of television channels smashed outside Le Meridien Hotel, 01.03.2016, New Delhi.

 

Army/Paramilitary security forces

  1. Dipak Deka, journalist with television news channel Assam Talks, brutally assaulted by CRPF personnel of 128 Bn in Sonapur, 15.04.2016, Jorabat, Assam; 2. Muneeb Ul Islam, photojournalist with Kashmir Reader and daily Roshni beaten up by CRPF and used as a ‘human shield’, 10.08.2016, Anantnag, Jammu and Kashmir.

Illegal sand mining

  1. Reporter Prashant Dubey and his cameraman Azad Sirviya attacked and abducted at knife-point when covering sand mining near Neemsadia village, 18.04.2016, Hoshangabad, Madhya Pradesh.

 

Doctors/interns

  1. Photojournalists attacked by interns in Malda Medical College and Hospital (MMCH) 24.05.2016, Malda, West Bengal.

 

Mob resisting/protesting media coverage

  1. Rashmi Mann from NDTV 24x7, cameraperson Kamalkant and another staffer, chased and attacked with bricks and stones when covering alleged assault of a minor in Inderpuri, 30.05.2016, Delhi;
  2. Mathrubhumi photographer Sajan V. Nambiar injured and Mathrubhumi office vandalized by mob, 01.06.2016, Kottakal, Kerala;
  3. Navneet Kumar, journalist with Hindi daily Hindustan, beaten up for writing about the assault on a bus operator after a fare hike, 04.08.2016, Vaishali, Bihar;
  4. Anees Zargar, correspondent for a Delhi based publication, hurt when stone pelting protestors attacked his vehicle on September 20, In Srinagar.
  5. Farooq Shah, managing editor of the daily Kashmir Observer, and Muntazeer Yaseen, a copy editor and designer, attacked by stone-throwing protestors, 29.08.2016, Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir;
  6. India Today Deputy Editor Rohini Swamy and cameraperson Madhu attacked by goons during protests in Bengaluru over the Cauvery water-sharing dispute, 13.09.2016, Bengaluru, Karnataka;
  7. Student attacked in retaliation for writings of his father, television journalist Chandran, 25.10.2016, Madurai, Tamil Nadu;
  8. Journalists assaulted by company’s security guards outside the Tata Group headquarters in Mumbai on Friday. The journalists had assembled outside Bombay House to report on the scheduled board meeting of Indian Hotels, a Tata Group company, 04.11.2016, Mumbai;
  9. Rakesh Sharma, a reporter with a local English newspaper, was beaten up while he was photographing how people were jumping the queue at United Bank of India in Imphal with the help of bank security personnel, 14.12.2016 Imphal, Manipur.

 

Students

  1. Group of students from Cotton College attack mediapersons and allegedly molest women commandoes of Assam police, 13.08.2016, Guwahati, Assam;
  2. Student volunteers belonging to DESAM attacked Imphal-based journalist inside the prestigious Manipur University Campus and injured police personnel during a standoff between students group DESAM and University Joint Student Co-Ordination Committee –  03.11.2016, Imphal, Manipur.

 

Illegal coal mining

  1. When six journalists were attacked by a coal mining mafia gang of more than 40 persons, police of Ledo and Tinsukia police station refused to take cognizance of their complaint, 14.09.2016, Margherita, Assam.

 

THREATS

Politicians/political party members

  1. Journalist Manoj Giri, working with Amar Ujala has filed a complaint against Uttar Pradesh minister Radhey Shyam Singh, who had allegedly threatened the former with burning alive, 12.02.2017, Kushinagar, Uttar Pradesh;
  2. Angry protesters targeted the media for broadcasting the controversial speech of Sombir, a member of the Jat protest committee who was booked for sedition over his ‘beheading’ remark against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. A tense atmosphere prevailed at the dharna site in Jassia village, 25.02.2016, Rohtak, Haryana;
  3. The ruling Trinamool Congress was accused of targeting the media and Left candidate Shyam Pandey in Shalboni in West Midnapore district of West Bengal during the first phase of  West Bengal’sAssembly election, 05.04.2016, Kolkata;
  4. Senior journalist Rajesh Kumar Singh lodged a complaint with the police in Nalanda, Bihar, that his life was in danger, after he was threatened by four unidentified men claiming to be close associates of JD(U) MLC Hira Bind, 24.05.2016, Nalanda, Bihar;
  5. Siddu Biradar and Prasanth, reporter and video journalist of a private television channel were charged with ‘intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace’ by Karnataka Minister of State for Primary and Secondary Education Tanvir Sait who was caught allegedly browsing through ‘objectionable’ content during the Tipu Jayanti celebrations in Raichur, 14.11.2016, Raichur, Karnataka;
  6. Punjab Police booked AAP MP Bhagwant Mann for allegedly hurling abuses at journalists during a public rally at Bassi Pathana. The FIR against Mann and other party volunteers was registered on the complaint of the Journalists Association of Fatehgarh Sahib District secretary, Ranjodh Singh, 04.09.2016, Fatehgarh Sahib, Punjab.

Mining Mafia

  1. Chennai-based senior journalist Sandhya Ravishankar who published a four-part series on Tamil Nadu’s sand mafia in The Wire, has alleged that she has been constantly harassed and threatened by supporters of S. Vaikundarajan (owner of the largest sand mining conglomerate in the country. She is currently under police protection, 18.03.2017,  Chennai, Tamil Nadu;
  2. Reporter Mithun Baruah  working for a local newspaper was threatened by alleged stone mafia, 04.10.2016, Margherita, Assam.

 

Militant groups

A hand grenade was planted, allegedly by a militant group, at the office of Pandam, a vernacular evening daily, located at Wahengbam Leikai. All newspapers in Manipur kept their editorials blank as a mark of protest, 02.01.2016, Imphal, Manipur.

Police

  1. SRP Kalluri, Chhattisgarh’s controversial inspector-general of police, threatened Ritesh Mishra, Hindustan Times’s Raipur-based journalist for seeking clarifications on academic Nandini Sundar’s alleged involvement in a tribal man’s murder in Bastar, 16.11.2016, Bastar, Chhattisgarh;
  2. Kunal Shankar, Frontline magazine’s Telangana and Andhra Pradesh correspondent, detained by the police for “trespass” into the University of Hyderabad when he went there in connection with the first death anniversary of research scholar Rohith Vemula. The Gatchibowli police registered a criminal case against him but he was let off subsequently, 21.01.2017, Hyderabad, Telangana;
  3. Chirala police arrested senior journalist N Nagarjuna Reddy on an SC/ST atrocities case. The Chirala police detained him at a checkpost near Guntur. The case follows the attack on him in broad daylight by Amanchi Swamulu, the elder brother of Chirala MLA Amanchi Krishna Mohan – , 11.02.2016, Chirala, Andhra Pradesh.
  4. Police teams visited journalists who covered the JNU protests, some of them in their residences, to question them. Most of these journalists, which include women, report on education or crime and had been covering the episode. A journalist friend of JNU scholar Umar Khalid was questioned for over six hours about Khalid’s whereabouts, 22.02.2016, Delhi.

Vigilante groups

  1. Freelance journalist Malini Subramaniam hounded out of her home after intimidation, threats and attacks by the Samajik Ekta Manch, a self-styled anti-Maoist group that operated in close collaboration with Jagdalpur police, 22.02. 2016, Jagdalpur, Chhattisgarh;
  2. Journalists Prabhat Singh and Deepak Jaiswal, out on bail after they were “implicated” in a case by the police, received threats that their hands and legs would be “chopped off” if they did not mend their ways. The threats were issued in a social media group by Mahesh Soni, the vice-president of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad of Geedaam block of Dantewada district, 02.08.2016,Dantewada district, Bastar.

Twitter Trolls

  1. Mumbai police registered a case against a man for the Twitter account 'Amendra Kumar Singh', for allegedly threatening a woman journalist on Twitter that she will be "gangraped" in two days, 19.02. 2016, Mumbai;
  2. Asianet News Chief Coordinating Editor Sindhu Sooryakumar received more than 2000 abusive calls and death threats for hosting a discussion on 'Whether Celebrating Mahishasur Jayanthi is an act of Treason' last month on the channel. She filed a police complaint and Kerala Police arrested five people who are believed to have called her, 01.03.2016, Thiruvanathapuram, Kerala;
  3. NDTV anchor Barkha Dutt filed an FIR with Delhi police after receiving death threats for her JNU coverage, 04.03.2016, Delhi;
  4. Television journalist Deepak Chaurasia’s wife Anusuiya Roy registered a complaint with police against unknown persons after Chaurasia started receiving multiple threatening and abusive phone calls on his personal phone numbers. Chaurasiahad put out numbers of all Delhi ministers on a TV show in which he was discussing the issue of rising dengue and chikungunya cases in the capital. One of them, Delhi Tourism and Water Resources Minister Kapil Mishra, tweeted Chaurasia’s personal number after which he began getting repeated calls from one caller. The calls were abusive. The complaint was transferred to Delhi Police Special Cell, 15.09.2016, Delhi;
  5. Doordarshan journalist Satyendra Murli threatened on social media after he claimed Prime Minister Narendra Modi's address to the nation announcing demonetisation was recorded and not telecastlive. Besides getting death threats over the phone, with some callers allegedly threatening to abduct him, he also become the target of a vicious hate campaign on social media and his Facebook page was  flooded with abusive messages, 02.12.2016, New Delhi.

 

ABVP

  1. The Odisha unit Secretary of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) Abhilash Panda was booked in connection with verbally abusing mediapersons at a college function here, police said. Panda allegedly called the media "a bunch of unscrupulous and corrupt people”, 22.02.2016, Kendrapada, Orissa.

Lawyers

  1. A group of advocates at a session court here prevented journalists from reporting the commencement of trial of the sensational Jisha murder case. Five journalists were present in the court hall when the lawyers came and asked them to leave, 08.11.2016, Kochi, Kerala;
  2.  A group of journalists, including two women, who were at the vigilance court in Thiruvananthapuram to report the court proceedings, were threatened by some lawyers present in the court and asked to go out, 08.11.2016, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala;
  3. A complaint has been filed jointly by SC Koyal, who is also an Assistant Solicitor General of the Government of India at the Gauhati HC, and advocate Bijon Mahajan, against Neha Dixit, writer of ‘Operation Beti Uthao’, the editor-in-chief and the publisher of Outlook magazine, over a report that alleged that “the RSS trafficked 31 children from Assam to Gujarat and Punjab to initiate them into Hinduism without the consent of their parents”, 06.08.2016, Guwahati, Assam.

UIDAI

1. The Delhi Police Crime Branch registered an FIR against Skoch group chairman Sameer Kochhar allegedly for spreading rumours on the internet about the vulnerability of the Aadhaar system. Police said a case had been registered at the Cyber Cell of the Crime Branch against Kochhar for allegedly writing a “misleading” article targeting Aadhaar. His actions, the complaint states, violate the Aadhaar Act, 04.03.2017, Delhi.

 

Silencing of journalists 

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