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Mob Attacks News18 Woman Journalist, Others Covering Sabarimala Protests as Cops Look On

Two reporters - one from The News Minute and one from the Republic TV - were also attacked by the anti-women protesters.


Updated:October 17, 2018, 3:20 PM IST

Sabarimala: CNN-News18 crew covering the Sabarimala protests was attacked by a mob at the Nilakkal base camp, the main gateway to the hill shrine, on Wednesday in a cowardly tactic designed to intimidate women devotees ahead of the temple’s opening at 5pm.

The anti-women protesters surrounded the car in which News18’s reporter Radhika Ramaswamy was travelling and abused her verbally, asking her to turn back. Even as cops at the spot looked on, more protesters joined in.

They tried to pull her out, attacked the car, broke the window panes and hit the vehicles with sticks. The goons also vandalised the camera equipment that the crew was carrying.

Recounting the horror, Radhika said that there were “2-3 cops when the incident happened. I was calling out for help and the police did not stop the mob.”

She said the protesters continued to attack even after she told them they would turn back.

“We were on our way to Pamba when we were surrounded by a mob. The mob stopped us saying I am a female reporter... When I citied the SC order, they attacked us. They continued to attack even when we told them that we are leaving,” she said.

Kerala DGP Lokanath Behara has said that an FIR has been registered and promised that the culprits would be arrested soon.

Two reporters - one from The News Minute and one from the Republic TV - were also attacked by the anti-women protesters.

The News Minute reporter was on a state transport bus carrying devotees to Sabarimala, when a mob of 20 men surrounded the bus at Pamba and tried to pull her out. One person in the mob had kicked her on the spine, the News Minute reported.

The news website said the goons, who were trying to pass them off as devotees, have now surrounded the police station where the reporter was taken.

Republic TV in a tweet said that a 100-strong mob smashed the car of the channel’s south India bureau chief Pooja Prasanna. ‘The mob of anti-women Sabarimala protesters had snatched batons from the police and attacked the television crew. Ms Prasanna is safe,” it wrote on Twitter.

The numerous attacks have exposed the Kerala government’s assurances of providing security to women devotees making the trek to the hill shrine after the Supreme Court lifted the centuries-old ban on women of menstruating-age from entering the temple.

Although hundreds of police personnel are guarding the main gateway, they are clearly outnumbered by the protesters.

Some female worshippers were prevented from proceeding to the temple site on Wednesday, including a woman from Andhra Pradesh who braved the harassment and crossed the Pamba gateway but was forced to turn back along with her family.

Despite the attacks being caught on camera, Independent MLA PC George said no attack had taken place. “Whatever has happened to you is because of what you have done,” he said.

The Congress and the BJP, both protesting against the verdict, have condemned the attacks.

BJP MP Subramanian Swamy said PC George should be taken into custody immediately for his remarks. “What we are witnessing today is not only unbelievable; it is complete failure of the state government,” he said.

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| Edited by: Aakarshuk Sarna
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