In a shocking turn of events and what can be termed as complete anarchy, the crew of Republic TV was heckled and attacked inside the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) campus on Tuesday, right in front of the Dean’s office.
The incident took place on Tuesday, January 12, when the Republic TV crew was covering an event where AIMIM Chief Asaduddin Owaisi was scheduled to arrive. Reporters of the Republic TV including Nalini Sharma and Sumaira Khan along with some camera crew were attacked by the AMU staff.
A video of the molestation of reporters clearly shows that the security staff of the AMU attempted to snatch equipment of the crew. When the Republic’s crew resisted their actions, the staff and students followed the Republic TV crew, snatched and destroyed equipment, and burnt the camera. Further refusing to explain their action, the mob misbehaved with women reporters as well.
The whole incident began when suddenly; the university authorities started hindering the live broadcast of Owaisi’s event, demanding to know the details of the story that was being reported. Afterwards, the students too joined with the staff members. Till this point, police officials were acting as a silent observer. However, when police intervened into the matter, instead of cracking down on the attackers, they asked the Republic crew to move out of the campus. Moreover, the mob was not satisfied on that note and when the Republic TV crew tried to leave the campus, the attacking crowd formed a chain and insisted that all equipment be handed over.
— Narendra Pratap ||نریندر پرتاپ (@narendrauptv) February 12, 2019
Speaking about the heinous incident, the SSP of Aligarh, Akash Kulhari said, “We do not deny that the incident has taken place. We will do everything possible under the law. The faces of the miscreants have been caught on camera. I have told that an FIR should be filed”.
In the video, it can clearly be seen that the goons were attacking the Republic TV crew and continuously asking about whether the permission was given to them or not. It is shocking to think that the mob was trying to justify the attacks on the ground of whether the permission was granted or not.
Condemning the incident, BJP MP from Aligarh, Satish Kumar Gautam, assured, “I condemn the attack on Nalini Sharma and Sumaira Khan. I appeal to the channel’s reporters to file an FIR – arresting is my duty. The people who have done this will be investigated and action will be taken. Today the way journalists have been attacked and behaved with, I assure arrests by the evening. Nobody will do goondagiri and it will not be tolerated.”
In a thread of tweets, Republic reporter Nalini Sharma narrated the whole incident. Here is the thread:
This is ABSOLUTE LIES! I’m appalled at how this has been created out of thin air. I was MYSELF standing and reporting on a story that had NOTHING to do with AMU when the students began to heckle and threaten us. We weren’t even speaking to any student in the vicinity! https://t.co/jHuupm9nNK
— Nalini ? (@nalinisharma_) February 12, 2019
The question that arises here, where is the Editor’s Guild of India and the ‘save the democracy’ gang? The self-claimed saviour of the democratic rights and fighters of the free speech are seemed to be ignoring the whole incident. The Editors Guild remained silent last month when Rahul Gandhi attacked ANI Editor-in-chief Smita Prakash over her interview with PM Narendra Modi. Rahul Gandhi took a jibe at the journalist for petty political gains as he termed Prime Minister Modi’s interview a staged one and also said that it was conducted by a “pliable journalist”. Despite this vicious attack by the Congress president against a respected media professional, the Editors Guild which pretends to be the guardian of media freedom remained conspicuously silent. The Editor’s Guild did not issue any statement then and they are silent now. They say Freedom of Press and Freedom of Speech are in danger only when it suits their narrative.