In a shocking incident, a team of journalists of public opinion portal ‘Jan Ki Baat’ was brutally attacked by the goons allegedly associated with the ruling Trinamool Congress government in West Bengal.
My brave @jankibaat1 reporters & data analysts were physically attacked for exposing alleged lapses in CM Mamata Banerjee’s Swastha Sathi Scheme in Durgapur. #RightToReport #AttackOnJanKiBaat 1/4 pic.twitter.com/9ioDZxqPNG— Pradeep Bhandari(प्रदीप भंडारी) (@pradip103) February 20, 2021
On Saturday, a group of supporters of Mamata Banerjee-led TMC attacked the journalists of ‘Jan Ki Baat’ for reporting on alleged irregularities in the ‘Swasthya Sathi’ scheme of the West Bengal government. It is being alleged that the attacks happened in the presence of West Bengal police officials. It was recently alleged that a private hospital in Kolkata denied admission to a patient under the Swasthya Sathi scheme because he did not have a valid card.
Speaking to OpIndia, Jan Ki Baat CEO and psephologist Pradeep Bhandari said that reporters and data analysts of ‘Jan Ki Baat’ – Aman Verma, Avik Bhattacharya and Kritarth were brutally attacked in Durgapur for exposing lapses in ‘Swasthya Sathi’ scheme, a pet project of the Mamata Banerjee-led government.
‘Jan Ki Baat’ is an independent global on-ground public opinion technology company.
According to Bhandari, a 58-year-old beneficiary of the scheme had died of cardiac arrest after allegedly being denied emergency medical treatment at The Mission Hospital. The Vice-chairman of the hospital is allegedly a close relative of a local TMC leader.
Police did nothing, stones were hurled at our team, says Pradeep Bhandari
As ‘Jan Ki Baat’ journalists reported the distraught family’s version of the incident, they were physically assaulted, said Pradeep Bhandari. He also alleged that he was shocked to learn that the entire attack occurred in front of the police who chose to do nothing.
“Even when stones were hurled at them by hospital staff, the police did nothing to protect them. The family of the deceased stood supported my team through and through. ‘Right to Report’ is under threat, the lives of passionate young journalists are at risk and this is intolerance in its true form,” the ‘Jan Ki Baat’ CEO added.
Aman and Avik got attacked while recording the distraught families version. Aman’s phone was snatched& Avik sustained grievous injuries. Is there no right to report in Bengal 3/4 #RightToReport #AttackOnJanKiBaat pic.twitter.com/obkHVKlg6a— Pradeep Bhandari(प्रदीप भंडारी) (@pradip103) February 20, 2021
Pradeep Bhandari, who is currently touring West Bengal ahead of the state elections, said that it was shocking and horrifying that young journalists are attacked for showing the truth and exposing the lapses in a state government scheme.
“The conspiracy of silence by those who give lectures on intolerance should be seen by people of India. Bengal needs deployment of Central forces for safety and security of all,” he said.