Kamal Shukla, editor Bhoomkal Samachar, a regional newspaper, was dragged on the street by Congress goons, beaten and attacked with a sharp weapon in Congress-ruled Chhattisgarh. The incident took place around 100 meters from Kanker police station in Bastar division, Chattisgarh, on Saturday morning. Other journalists came to his rescue and took him to a hospital.
कांग्रेस की सरकार में सरेआम लोकतंत्र का हो रहा चीरहरण। पुलिस तमाशबीन बनी रही और कांग्रेसी गुंडे प्रदेश के वरिष्ठ पत्रकार कमल शुक्ला को सरेबाज़ार पीटते रहे।@bhupeshbaghel @thealokputul @riteshmishraht @patrakarvinod @RuchirjGarg @BastarManish @gyanendrat1 @kamalkanker pic.twitter.com/IW07Hw19Qp— Mukesh Chandrakar (@MukeshChandrak9) September 26, 2020
As per the police statement, it was a fight between two groups of journalists. They have registered a case under 294, 506, and 323 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). However, Hindustan Times quoted him, saying, “Police are falsely saying that the incident was the result of a fight between two groups of journalists. The accused, who they are calling a journalist, is the leader of a workers’ union and runs a newspaper. The other accused are a Congress leader and his supporters,” Sukhla said.
Shukla was covering an assault on a young journalist
Shukla was covering an assault on a young journalist Satish Yadav who has been filing RTIs on illegal sand miners. He was beaten up by a group of people and dragged to Kanker Police Station. A few journalists, including Shukla, arrived at the scene to cover the incident. In his statement, Shukla said that a group of men circled him and waved a pistol at him. When he came out of the Police Station, they beat him and attacked with a sharp weapon.
“I have been writing against sand mafia and raising my voice against the district administration and collector. Journalists of Kanker plan to go on a ‘jail bharo aandolan’ on October 2. This attack was meant to foil our campaign and oppress our voice against the administration,” he added. In his complaint, Shukla named three people, history-sheeter Ganesh Tiwari, Gaffar Menon and former municipal council chairperson Jitender Singh Thakur. He alleged that all three are close to a Congress MLA.
Menon filed a counter-complaint
Gaffar Menon has filed a counter-complaint. He alleged that Shukla threatened him to pay for newspaper ads else he will face dire consequences. IG P Sundarraj, Bastar Range, said both FIRs had been registered and Shukla’s statement has been recorded. As video evidence has surfaced, clearly indicating who the offenders were, I assure action at the soonest,” he added.
Congress distances itself
Vinod Verma, the advisor to CM Bhupesh Baghel, said that a committee had been formed headed by a retired judge to introduce a protection law for the journalists as soon as possible. Times of India quoted him saying, “It’s all under process and has been slowed down because of the pandemic. We have to rope in Editors’ Guild of India, Press Council of India and journalists’ union for their opinion.” Congress spokesperson Sushil Trivedi has claimed that the Congress leader named as accused who beat up the journalist has been removed from party long back.
BJP dubbed the incident ‘gundaraj’
Sachidanand Upasane, the BJP spokesperson, alleged that the government of Chattisgarh is supporting mafia raj and goons. “This is gundaraj of Congress workers in the state. The people of the state are victims of this and now journalists are also being beaten up by them,” he said.