Jhansi: In Uttar Pradesh, Akhilesh Yadav has said he will change Samajwadi Party's image of a goonda party, but for some journalists in Jhansi it was a six-hour ordeal which ended on Tuesday midnight. They were intimidated and threatened by SP workers who were upset at their candidate losing.
Media members have been sitting on a dharna since last night, to demand action against the attackers who manhandled them.
A group of reporters were forced to hide for more than two hours in a room in a school building in Jhansi; Samajwadi workers were outside, threatening to break down the door. They had assaulted the journalists earlier when a reporter questioned a candidate from Mr Yadav's party about his defeat in today's elections. The police allegedly refused to intervene. The reporters then rushed into the school, which had been converted into a media centre for today's counting of votes. The NDTV crew's camera was among those smashed. Vinod Gautam, who reports for NDTV, said, "There are so many of them outside. We don't know how we will go home." Mr Gautam also said that the police stationed outside refused to take any action against the Samajwadi workers. Gaurav Bhatia who heads the Samajwadi Party's legal cell was a guest on an NDTV show yesterday when the story broke. He said at 8.40 pm that he has spoken to Akhilesh Yadav. The party ordered its workers in Jhansi to disband immediately. Action will be taken against anyone involved, he said.
No case against these workers has been registered yet. After the incident, a Hindi news channel's cameraperson was hospitalised; 12 other journalists were also injured.
BJP leader Uma Bharati said she expressed her fear if SP comes into power in Uttar Pradesh.
"If you remember you had asked me earlier how I felt when I got to know that SP was in the lead during counting. I had said that I felt sorry for the people. I felt worried about what would happen to the state. SP has always been a criminal party and they propagate violence. The incidents that happened are worrisome. I am not saying that the people did a mistake by voting for this party. It is really terrible how SP is insulting people who voted for them in this fashion," she said.
Earlier, a young boy was shot dead last evening when workers fired guns to celebrate the victory of Samajwadi candidate Iqbal Mahmood in the Sambhal constituency in western UP.
At Firozabad near Agra, another group of Samajwadi workers, upset over a candidate's defeat, blocked the road and attacked a few cars.
Mr Yadav's party marched into power in UP yesterday, winning 224 of the 403 seats at stake. Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, who is 72 years old, will embark on his fourth term as chief minister. It is his 38-year-old son Akhilesh who has powered the stunning verdict, re-positioning the party as a progressive one, focused on development in one of India's most backward states. At a press conference this evening, he said, "This party will have no link to the mafia." In earlier stints in power, the Samajwadi Party was held responsible for a rise in gang wars and crimes.
Story first published:
March 07, 2012 08:40 IST