Here's Why Journalists in Chhattisgarh Wore Helmets to a BJP Rally
On Saturday, journalist Suman Pandey, who works with digital news portal The Voices, was recording a meeting of the BJP's district-level leaders in Raipur when party supporters thrashed him.
Journalists in Raipur wore helmets to a BJP rally, fearing attacks.
Raipur: Journalists in Raipur turned up for a BJP event wearing helmets and heavy-duty protection, after a reporter was attacked by saffron party supporters in the Chhattisgarh capital last week.
Sending across a powerful symbolic message to the BJP government, the journalists — with mics held firmly in hand and cameras dangling on the shoulder — came to interview the BJP leaders wearing heavy helmets as safety precaution in case they were attacked again.
On Saturday, journalist Suman Pandey, who works with digital news portal The Voices, was recording a meeting of the BJP's district-level leaders in Raipur when party supporters thrashed him. Pandey received head injuries in the incident.
Four BJP functionaries, including the party's Raipur chief Rajeev Agarwal, have been arrested after a complaint was filed by the journalist.
"I was recording a video of the meeting on my mobile phone when suddenly BJP leaders started arguing among themselves over some issue. Rajeev Agarwal and another person, Utkarsh Trivedi, told me to delete the video of the scuffle, which I refused. They then started hitting me and forcefully deleted the video," Mr Pandey had said, according to news agency PTI.
"I was made to sit inside the meeting room for about 20 minutes. When I came out, I told other journalists about the incident," he added.
Later, a throng of angry journalists reached the BJP office, alerted the police and staged a protest demanding the arrest of those who allegedly thrashed Pandey.
Chhattisgarh BJP spokesperson Sacchidanand Upasane, who was present in the meeting, said the party has issued a formal apology to Pandey.
He added that all journalists were asked to leave the meeting room after recording initial footage, as it was a closed-door meeting to discuss the defeat in recent assembly elections. "Party leaders and workers were also asked to keep their mobile switched off," he said.
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