Kolkata: Photojournalist Biplab Mondal was allegedly abducted, assaulted and threatened by Trinamool Congress hooligans while he was covering violence that occurred during filing of nominations for the panchayat elections in West Bengal’s South 24 Parganas district.
The alleged crime took place on April 9 in district headquarters of Alipur at Treasury Building around 11.30 am near the police station and Bhawani Bhawan which is the headquarters of the state CID.
Following the incident, media in Kolkata organized a protest rally from Gandhi Murti-Park Street-Dorina Crossing to Gandhi Murti in Esplanade area on Wednesday.
Nearly 250 journalists and photo-journalists participated in the protest rally. Protesting against ‘anarchy’ by the ruling party, they demanded adequate security for the media professionals who often risked their life while on assignments.
Reacting to the journalists' procession, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said it was a propaganda of a specific media house.
"No such incident has taken place. This is being done deliberately by some quarter. A planned effort is on to influence the judiciary. It is the tactics of a particular media house," Banerjee told PTI.
Appropriate action would be taken against the media house, she said, adding that media must be impartial.
"There is no information of attack on any journalist. I stay at Alipur. If journalists are attacked, I myself enquire. Police told me they talked to the so-called victims of attack and he too did not say anything," the Chief Minister said.
Speaking to News18, Mondal said, “I am in this profession for several years but never witnessed such act of high handedness. A team of policemen came to my house today and took my statement. I want stern action should be taken against the accused persons.”
When asked to elaborate about the incident, he said, “I went to cover filing of nominations on April 9 at Alipore. I took a few photographs which angered a section of youths who were present at the spot. They abused and dragged me inside a small room (close to the venue). It was then their torture started. They stripped me partially and beat me mercilessly. I was screaming for help but they continue to beat me. In the meantime, another youth shouted ‘piece piece kore de’….’guli kore de’ (cut him in to pieces…shoot him dead). Then one of them threatened to upload my partially naked photograph on Facebook.”
He recalled, “I was scared but regained by senses. I told them there is no point in uploading my partially naked photographs. (I told them) Its better you kill me, hang my body and then upload my photographs on Facebook for better unnayan (development) in this state. They (assaulters) were backed by the ruling party (TMC) and they claimed that there are posted there because they want development in the state. They snatched my camera and deleted all the photographs I had taken. Presently, the Alipore police have seized my camera for investigation.” Soon after the incident, he was rescued by a group of journalists and taken to a nearby health care unit with multiple injuries.
Members of South 24 Pargana’s Media and Journalists’ Welfare Association condemned the incident and wrote a letter to the district magistrate and demanded immediate action against the attackers.
(With PTI inputs)