A total of four journalists and an RTI activist were assaulted in Jammu on Tuesday, while they were reporting from Kerain Talab area of Jammu’s Bathindi, regrading Rohingyas having access to SIM cards.
The reporters which comprised of Republic TV journalist Tejinder Sodhi plus his cameraman and India news journalist Ajay Jandial plus his cameraman were trying to ascertain how the Rohingyas managed to get sim cards in absence of documents required for identity verification purposes.
Accompanying them was also Rohit Choudhary, whose RTI query had revealed that 27 Rohingya families were living in Jammu and all of them had mobile numbers. As per him, one needs valid documents like Aadhaar to get the SIM cards. He also disputed the figure quoted by the government and claimed that there are at least 2000 Rohingyas living in Jammu.
As per Republic TV’s bureau head Tejinder Sodhi, while they were covering the story, two people alighted from a vehicle and started to attack them with rods and sticks. They even tried to forcibly snatch their cameras and mikes.
A snippet of the assault was tweeted by the RTI activist:
— Rohit Choudhary (@irohitchoudhary) March 13, 2018
Since the attack, the Jammu police has arrested two people namely Mohammad Ashraf and Sher Mohammad in connection with this attack. The police have claimed that the attack was perpetrated by the locals without the involvement of the Rohingyas, but RTI activist Rohit Choudhary has claimed otherwise.
While speaking to Swarajya, Rohit claimed that while the said youths were assaulting the journalists, the Rohingyas proceeded to encourage them by raising slogans and failed to come to the journalists’ aid. Regarding obtaining SIM cards, Rohit questioned whether the administration has provided the Rohingyas with the relevant documents needed to get the cards.
As per the report, a case has now been filed against the arrested youths under Sections 341 (wrongful restraint), 323 (causing hurt), 382 (theft after preparation made for causing death, hurt, or restraint ) and 34 (criminal acts done by several persons) of the Indian Penal Code.
Following this attack, the Jammu Press Club has come out with a condemnation and appealed to the central government to ensure the safety of working journalists.