Three journalists from The Caravan magazine were allegedly physically assaulted by unidentified people in Northeast Delhi on Tuesday, August 11, while they were reporting on communal tensions that broke out in the area on the night of August 5, after the foundation-laying ceremony of the Ram temple in Ayodhya.
Two of the reporters have been identified as Prabhjit Singh and Shahid Tantray, who were on the spot with another female colleague.
Although the reporters have filed a detailed complaint, Delhi Police is yet to register an FIR.
That day, a group of people celebrating the Ram temple event had allegedly placed saffron flags on the gates of Subhash Mohalla and chanted anti-Muslim slogans.
Talking to The Logical Indian, Prabhjit Singh says: "We were at the venue and taking pictures when a group of people approached us and demanded that we delete the pictures immediately. We tried to reason with them, we told them that we were fro the media and were merely doing our job, that there was nothing personal, but they refused to listen."
"I was trying to control the mob at one end when I noticed that a group was forcing my colleague Shahid to reveal his identity. I immediately called him loudly by the name 'Sagar' because I knew we would be in trouble if they learnt his Muslim identity. Refusing to budge, they forced us to show them our identity cards, and they immediately attacked Shahid, shouting distasteful communal slurs at him," he added.
The Caravan has released a statement on Twitter, saying a group not only physically assaulted the reporters, but also threatened to kill them. A man in the group, wearing a saffron kurta, claimed he was the "BJP general secretary".
The staffers were taken to the nearby Bhajanpura station by local police personnel, where a complaint was filed. Prabhjit Singh wrote in his complaint that if he was not present on the spot, "the mob led by that saffron-clad man would have lynched Shahid for his Muslim identity."
Today afternoon, in the Subhash Mohalla locality in north-east Delhi, a group of men and women assaulted three staffers of @thecaravanindia—@Prabhtalks, @shahidtantray and a third staff member—to stop them from reporting.— The Caravan (@thecaravanindia) August 11, 2020
"The mob consistently blamed the media, saying tensions around such events are created by us and our fraternity," Prabhjit says.
The woman staffer was allegedly physically assaulted and sexually harassed. "After the mob began attacking her, Tantaray and Prabhjit Singh, she managed to extricate herself and escape to a neighbouring gully," The Caravan's statement said.
She was then surrounded by some men in the alley, who allegedly took her pictures and videos without her consent.
"As the woman staffer ran and attempted to reach the Bhajanpura station, the mob attacked her again," the statement added. "The attackers beat her on her head, arms, hips and chest. The man in the saffron kurta was among them, as were two women."
Here, young men surrounded her and took her pictures and videos without her consent, and verbally harassed her. A middle-aged man exposed his genitals to her, shook his penis and made lewd facial expressions at her. pic.twitter.com/0Ef2LmhTTf— The Caravan (@thecaravanindia) August 11, 2020
"As a media person, I strongly recommend the media fraternity to engage in more ground zero reporting. It has its own hassles and danger, but our job is to bring important stories to the fore and no amount attacks or abuses should stop us from revealing the truth," Prabhjit says.