C'garh journo covering BJP meet thrashed by partymen

C'garh journo covering BJP meet thrashed by partymen

Journalists protest against the beating of Suman Pandey. Photo: Twitter/sarafsnehil

A journalist of a Raipur-based website was allegedly beaten up Saturday by BJP functionaries while he was recording a meeting of the party's district-level meeting here, police said.

Based on the complaint by journalist Suman Pandey, who sustained minor injuries to his head, a case has been registered against four persons, including BJP Raipur district president Rajeev Agrawal, a police official told PTI.

He identified the other three accused as local BJP office-bearers Vijay Vyas, Utkarsh Trivedi and Deena Dongre, adding that no arrests had been made in this connection.

The accused were booked under section 342 (wrongful confinement), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 504 (criminal intimidation) and 34 (common intention) of IPC, the official said.

Pandey's complaint alleges that he was thrashed when he was covering the BJP meeting Saturday afternoon at its Ekatma Parisar office here, adding that leaders there were involved in a scuffle among themselves when the incident happened.

"I was recording a video of the meeting on my mobile phone when suddenly BJP leaders started manhandling each other over some issue. Meanwhile, BJP Raipur district president Rajeev Agarwal and another person, Utkarsh Trivedi, asked me to delete the video of the scuffle, which I refused. They then started hitting me and forcefully deleted the video," Pandey told PTI.

"I was made to sit inside the meeting room for about 20 minutes. When I came out, I informed other journalists about the incident," he added.

Later, several other journalists reached the BJP office, alerted police and protested there demanding the arrest of those involved in assaulting Pandey.

State BJP spokesperson Sacchidanand Upasane, who was also present in the meeting, said his partymen had apologised to Pandey.

"The closed-door district level meeting was held to review the defeat in the recent Assembly election. Media persons were asked to leave the meeting room after taking initial footage. Party leaders and workers were also asked to keep their mobile switched off," he said.

"On finding a man recording the video of meeting, he was told to stop it and asked to delete the footage. After he introduced himself as a journalist, party leaders said he should delete the video," Upasane said.

"A minor scuffle broke out between the journalist and party leaders over the issue, following which I asked the journalist to sit there for a while and later told him to go outside," Upasane said.

When party leaders saw journalists protesting at the venue, the former apologised, he added.

He said the BJP's state president would look into the incident.

Meanwhile, Chhattisgarh Health and Family Welfare Minister TS Singhdeo termed the incident as "unfortunate".

"It was an unfortunate incident and this should not have happened with anyone. Such a kind of incident is unacceptable and stern action should be taken," Singhdeo told reporters.