The Delhi Union of Journalists expresses its anger and anguish at the attacks on journalists, teachers and students on the Delhi University campus yesterday. There were several assaults on journalists covering the disturbances, by protesters as well as police who did not wear nametags. Phones were snatched, cameras grabbed and photographic evidence of the violence was destroyed.
The list of those journalists assaulted is long. Times of India correspondent Somreet Bhattacharya and photographer Anindya Chattopadhyay were beaten up. Quint reporter Taruni Kumar has given a videoed statement of how ABVP women hit her, grabbed her phone, pulled her hair and broke her phone and mike. Quint cameraperson Shiv Kumar Maurya suffered injuries on his head and reporter Anant Prakash was also attacked. Hindustan Times reporter Ananya Bhardwaj was hit. Times Now reporter Priyank and cameraperson Mazhar Khan were beaten. Photographer Anand Sharma too was beaten.
These attacks indicate a deliberate attempt to browbeat and muzzle the press whenever it tries to report violence by supporters and vigilante groups of the ruling party. An attack on the media is an assault on democracy. We demand an inquiry and punishment for the guilty. There is ample videographic evidence on the social media of the violence. We regret that even the February 2016 attacks on reporters by so-called lawyers at the Patiala House courts have gone unpunished.
Delhi Police is usually only too ready to lathicharge, teargas, detain or arrest those organizing any form of protest in the city. In this case it did not use any such tactics to restrain the ABVP students who attacked those holding a peaceful seminar at Ramjas college. On day two, when it should have been well prepared to ensure that no violence ensued between two opposing student groups, it permitted a riot like situation to go on for several hours. We are seriously concerned at the deteriorating law and order situation in the capital city and call for restoration of peace on the University campus. Such violence puts at risk all citizens and particularly journalists trying to report objectively on unfolding events. It poses a threat to democracy, to the right to know and to free speech. The DUJ condemns such calculated and concerted attacks on the media. It calls for the widest possible unity to counter them.