Scribes fear for safety in Uttar Pradesh

Scribes fear for safety in Uttar Pradesh

Journalists are a worried lot in Uttar Pradesh following two major attacks on them in a fortnight.

On Aug 17, a Muslim mob thrashed photographers and reporters and damaged their equipment.

On Tuesday, a group of youths owing allegiance to the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) attacked two reporters inside Lucknow University.

They were angry with the journalists for exposing how the model code of conduct in the run up to the student union elections had been breached. 

The two were threatened at gunpoint. "We will kill you if you continue reporting (student union affairs)."

In the Aug 17 attack, more than two dozen journalists had sustained injuries. Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav announced compensation for the photojournalists whose equipment was damaged. The government also bore the medical expenses of the injured.

For Tuesday's attack, a case has been registered against eight student leaders, district police chief R.K. Chaturvedi told IANS. He said the accused would be arrested soon. 

Pawan Agarwal, the Lucknow University proctor, said the accused students would be expelled and their entry into the campus banned.

Principal Home Secretary R.M. Srivastava told IANS that the government "was alive to the situation". On Wednesday, it told all district officials to ensure the safety of journalists. 

Amrit Abhijaat, director of Information and Public Relations, said the attacks were of grave concern.

Hemant Tiwari, national secretary of the Indian Federation of Working Journalists, said the incidents were unfortunate.

The perception amongst journalists was getting stronger that the government had failed to protect them, he said. 

Bahujan Samaj Party leader Swamy Prasad Maurya said he was not surprised by the developments. "SP celebrated its win by bashing up scribes in Jhansi."

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