Media

Delhi Riots: Journalists Shot at, Punched, Asked to Prove Religion

While more than 150 have been injured in the riots, most reporters on the ground have gruesome stories of intimidation and attacks to recount.

New Delhi: In the three days through which the violence in Delhi’s north east have escalated into what is now being understood as communally targeted attacks on anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protesters, journalists have been among those injured – some quite seriously.

The total toll rose to 10 on Tuesday evening, with more than 150 people injured.

On Tuesday, Akash, a correspondent for JK 24×7 News, was shot at in east Delhi’s Maujpur.

Meanwhile, four of NDTV’s reporters and camerapersons were assaulted by what the news channel described as “armed mobs.”

Reporter Arvind Gunasekar lost three teeth in a barrage of blows and was reportedly about to be hit by a stick when cameraperson Saurabh Shukla intervened and ended up taking the blow instead. Gunasekar and Shukla had spent the day covering parts of north east Delhi that have been seeing the most violence, reporting from within vehicles at times when the clashes escalated.

Reporter Mariyam Alavi and cameraperson Sushil Rathee too were injured after having been attacked by a mob in a different part of north east Delhi.

Tuesday’s edition of Times of India carried a firsthand account by photojournalist Anindya Chattopadhyay, who was asked to prove by raging mobs if he was a Hindu at Maujpur.

Scroll.in reported that its correspondents “saw supporters of the law threatening journalists and checking their phones for videos and deleting them.”

Meanwhile, messages have also poured in from reporters on the field and their colleagues off it, on the necessity of staying safe.

The Press Club of India and Indian Women’s Press Corps have expressed serious concern.

“We have little doubt the attackers actively sought to prevent videography or photography that may lead to them being identified. A lethargic police and politicians instigating communal violence cannot escape blame for attacks on the media,” the organisations wrote in a strongly worded statement.

The Editors’ Guild too released a statement on Tuesday night, calling the attacks a “direct assault on press freedom”.