Journalist Thrashed For Recording BJP Meet On Chhattisgarh Defeat

The journalist alleged that he was thrashed when he was covering the BJP meeting Saturday afternoon at its Ekatma Parisar office in Raipur.

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Journalist Thrashed For Recording BJP Meet On Chhattisgarh Defeat

Suman Pandey was recording a meeting of the party's district-level meeting in Raipur.


Raipur: 

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

Based on the complaint by journalist Suman Pandey, who sustained minor injuries to his head, four BJP functionaries, including the Raipur district unit chief, were arrested, a police official told news agency PTI.

BJP's Raipur district president Rajeev Agrawal and three local office-bearers -- Vijay Vyas, Utkarsh Trivedi and Deena Dongre -- were arrested late Saturday night based on the First Information Report (FIR), the official added.

In his complaint, Mr Pandey's complaint alleged that he was thrashed when he was covering the BJP meeting Saturday afternoon at its Ekatma Parisar office in Raipur, 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," Mr Pandey said.

"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 the journalist.

State BJP spokesperson Sacchidanand Upasane, who was also present in the meeting, said his partymen had apologised to Mr 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," Mr 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," Mr Singhdeo told reporters.

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