New Delhi: On February 25, journalist Akash Napa travelled from the Bhajanpura area of the riot-hit north east Delhi to the Yamuna Vihar Road. He made the journey to cover the violence that had erupted in that stretch, for JK 24x7, a local Hindi news channel.
At the Yamuna Vihar Road, while reporting, he and two others were shot. The two succumbed to their injuries. Akash was rushed to the Guru Teg Bahadur (GTB) hospital in north east Delhi. He is now critical but stable. His family, who had been watching him on television on the day, are stunned at the sudden turn of events.
While there have been reports of rioters threatening, harassing and attacking several mediapersons covering the violence, Akash is the only journalist who received bullet injuries.
The Wire caught up with Akash’s father, Ram Prakash Napa, who said that the bullet has not yet been removed. “It is possible that the bullet will not be removed from his body as it has reached the spinal area,” he added.
Ram Prakash related that he had been watching his son reporting live from the area on TV where the violence was happening.
“There was a huge crowd gathered in the Bhajanpura area when Akash reached. I didn’t see any policeman near him. So I got worried and called him from my mobile phone. I asked him to be careful and be near a place where there were policemen. However, the phone line suddenly got cut. I was worried,” he said.
“Within the next 25 minutes, I received a call from the GTB Hospital that my son has been shot. Hearing it, his wife fainted, my older son, who has been unwell these days, also lost consciousness hearing the news. With a lot of difficulty, I calmed the family and rushed to the hospital,” he added.
On reaching, Ram Prakash “found him covered in blood.”
Ram Prakash thanked the news channel for offering support and help that the family needed at the time of crisis. However, he expressed disappointment at the failure of both the Delhi and the Central governments in protecting journalists who have been on the road despite the obvious threat to their lives, only to bring news to people.
Ram Prakash himself has worked as a journalist in a local news organisation, Sandhya Veer Arjun, while his other son Vikas has worked with channels like NewsNation and NDTV. He said journalists had a roll no less important than Army personnel.