The police on Wednesday (August 12) said it has received a complaint from a news magazine that three of its journalists, including a woman, were assaulted by a mob in northeast Delhi, where they had gone to report on the riots that had taken place in February.
The Caravan magazine alleged that the incident took place on Tuesday (August 11) afternoon with independent journalist Prabhjit Singh, the magazine’s assistant photo editor Shahid Tantray, and another female reporter.
The magazine, in a series of tweets on Tuesday, said, “Today afternoon, in the Subhash Mohalla locality in north-east Delhi, a group of men and women assaulted three staffers of @thecaravanindia @Prabhtalks @shahidtantray and a third staff member to stop them from reporting.”
The magazine alleged that the mob physically assaulted the staffers, threatened to kill them and also used communal slurs.
One among the mob, who was dressed in a saffron kurta, claimed he was the “BJP general secretary,” according to the statement by the magazine.
The mob also reportedly sexually harassed the female reporter, who attempted to escape from them.
However, the statement said, “As the woman staffer 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.”
On the other hand, the photo editor, Shahid Tantray told The Indian Express that they were shooting a video story when two men approached them and asked why they were making videos.
“We told him we had received a call from someone that saffron flags were hoisted near a mosque. He asked us to tell him who made the call, and we refused. He threatened to kill me and the person who made the call. This man called more people and we were stuck there from 2 pm to 3.30 pm, with at least 100 people around us. The man asked us to show our press cards… When he saw my name, he used expletives,” Tantray said.
Tantray said the people asked him to delete photos and videos of the lane. “I was slapped and kicked,” he asserted.
Prabhjit Singh said the “mob tried to snatch Tantray’s camera and beat him”.
The three of them were later evacuated by the police and taken to Bhajanpura police station.
“They had gone to report on a story and people in the area got annoyed. Police safely evacuated the three. We got reports they were manhandled but nobody has suffered any major injuries. We will do an inquiry before filing an FIR… We do not have any information regarding why they went there,” The Indian Express quoted DCP (Northeast) Ved Prakash Surya as saying.
“We have received complaints from both the sides (magazine and locals) and are looking into them,” Joint Commissioner of Police (eastern range) Alok Kumar said.
Communal violence had broken out in northeast Delhi on February 24 after clashes between citizenship law supporters and protesters spiralled, leaving at least 53 people dead and around 200 injured.