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Communal Slurs, Sexual Abuse & Mute Cops: On-duty Journalists Recount Mob Attack at Delhi's Bhajanpura

Representative Image

Representative Image

The journalists, who had gone to follow up on their story over an incident on the day of the Ayodhya event, said the Delhi Police has still not registered an FIR in the matter.

The three journalists reporting for The Caravan magazine on the aftermath of the Delhi riots, in a media interaction held at the Press Club of India on Thursday, said they were assaulted on Wednesday in the presence of police personnel who stood by as mute spectators.

Shahid Tantray, one of the three journalists who was mercilessly beaten a day ago, said that as soon as the mob learnt of his Muslim identity, it brutally attacked him while hurling communal slurs.

“They kept beating me up while hurling communal slurs at me, as I kept calling the policemen who had reached the spot by then, to help me. I kept calling the policemen but they did not help me out,” Tantray said.

According to the journalists, the Delhi Police has still not registered an FIR in the matter.

Prabhjit Singh, the other journalist, said the mobsters threatened to kill them in the presence of policemen.

“One of the people in the mob shouted at us ‘I will kill you if I see you in this area again’ while we were with the police,” Singh said.

The journalists who had gone to follow up on their story on how on the day of event in Ayodhya, mob had gathered outside a Muslim-dominant neighbourhood and shouted communally charged slogans, and how subsequently two women, who had gone to the police station to complain, were slapped by police inside Bhajanpura police station.

Hartosh Singh Bal, who is the political editor at The Caravan, read out a statement by the third, a woman journalist, who described the physical and sexual assault on her as “the most traumatising experience of my life.”

In her statement, the journalist said the one word that one of the two female complainants had told her ‘insaaf’ [justice] “is still reverberating in my ears”.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the magazine described in brief the trauma that its woman staffer who was out to report in Subhash Mohalla, on Wednesday, suffered.

“As the woman staffer ran and attempted to reach the Bhajanpur station, the mob attacked her again. The attackers beat her on her head, arms, hips and chest.”

Bal recalled a statement made by one of the residents of Subhash Mohalla after the magazine’s reporters were assaulted, “if this can happen to journalists who come here to report, think of the lives we live here, day in and day out.”

Fifty-three people, most of them Muslims, were killed in the riots that broke out in the national capital in February.

Many journalists have claimed to have been harrassed, assaulted, and asked to "prove their religion" by such mobs, while reporting from the communally fraught area.