On Thursday, a ruckus broke out between a group of journalists and the supporters of Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav at a hotel in Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh. The former Chief Minister was in the city to attend the wedding of an MLA and had conducted a press conference at the said hotel on Thursday evening.
In a set of two videos shared by journalist Piyush Rai, Yadav can be heard telling journalists to ‘get lost’, following the press conference. In an aggressive tone, he also told them to not work for the BJP. He said, “BJP ke liye kaam mat karo (Don’t work for the BJP)”. When the media persons sought answers from the Samajwadi Party chief, his supporters and security personnel assaulted, pushed and shoved the reporters.
“Video of the ugly scenes that unfolded following a press meet by Samajwadi party chief Akhilesh Yadav at hotel in Moradabad district. Several journalists were pushed, heckled and assaulted allegedly by security personnel at the spot,” Rai wrote.
Video of the ugly scenes that unfolded following a press meet by Samajwadi party chief Akhilesh Yadav at hotel in Moradabad district. Several journalists were pushed, heckled and assaulted allegedly by security personnel at the spot. pic.twitter.com/0B9szcsjxs— Piyush Rai (@Benarasiyaa) March 11, 2021
Injured journalist Fareed Shamsi narrates his ordeal
During the ruckus, a reporter named Fareed Shamsi (identified as the one with a dark blue shirt) took a severe blow to his nose from Yadav’s security guard’s rifle. He was also pushed aside by a Samajwadi party supporter, who stood adjacent to him. In a video, Shamsi recounted how Akhilesh Yadav blamed him after he was assaulted. “The NSG people beat us up. They pushed, and then hit me with a rifle. I was asking questions, and then Akhilesh Yadav blamed me for doing this intentionally. I said I am asking questions, which is my job,” he said.
Fareed Shamsi, a Moradabad based journalist narrating his ordeal after he was injured following assault allegedly by security personnel of former CM Akhilesh Yadav at a press meet pic.twitter.com/FXEfvz6LlR— Piyush Rai (@Benarasiyaa) March 11, 2021
The reporter further added, “They beat up all media persons. There were journalists from other channels too. Some had ended up with their mobiles smashed, while some cameras were broken too. I have sprained my leg, and am going to the doctor.” Interestingly, the incident unfolded before Akhilesh Yadav, who was not seen making any efforts to stop his supporters and security personnel from assaulting the journalists.
No complaint registered so far, says police
While speaking about the ruckus, ASP (Moradabad) Amit Kumar Anand said, “When the former CM was leaving after the press conference, some journalists came too close to the security cover leading to the chaos. The incident happened at a hotel under the Pakwarha police station…If we get a complaint, we will see what has to be done. Till now, we have not received any complaint.” He added that the cops are analysing the CCTV footage to ascertain the chain of events leading to the scuffle.
Samajwadi Party leaders engage in victim-blaming, justify the assault on journalists
In a contentious tweet, Samajwadi Party spokesperson Juhie Singh labelled the journalists as ‘rehearsed actors’. “The actors had come prepared to stop the security personnel from doing their duty. After being stopped, they enacted falling and even gave statements. None of our party workers has injured any of the actors. Their conscience in lying in the feet of government’s advisors.”
She had also shared a photo of the injured journalist Fareed Shamsi and wrote, “Wow.. the group of CM’s advisors.. Acting was great.”
In defence of his party, Moradabad MP Syed Tufail Hasan claimed, “Some electronic media persons broke the security cordon and fell amid jostling after being stopped by guards. One journalist suffered injuries in the leg and has been sent to the hospital.” He also claimed that Akhilesh Yadav was willing to talk to the media.
BJP slams Akhilesh Yadav for misbehaving with journalists
While slamming the Samajwadi party supremo, Media Advisor to Yogi Adityanath wrote, “First, you invite journalists to your press conference and then assault them. Later, when they file complaint, then, claim that they are agents of the BJP. How did you become so heartless?”
एक तो पत्रकारों को अपनी सभा में बुलाकर पिटवाते हो और फिर उनके शिकायत करने पर उन्हें भाजपा का एजेंट बताते हो!— Mrityunjay Kumar (@MrityunjayUP) March 11, 2021
इतनी निर्दयता आख़िर कहाँ से लाते हो? pic.twitter.com/1XZ0Ai31QU
BJP spokesperson (UP) and Advisor to CM Yogi Adityanath Shalabh Mani Tripathi, also hit out at the Samajwadi Party, after journalists were targeted during the press conference in Moradabad.
एक बार फिर देखिए लाल टोपी वाले गुंडों की गुंडई,संभल में सवाल पूछने पर सपाई गुंडों ने पत्रकारों को बुरी तरह पीटा,धमकाया,अपमानित कर भगाया,कई घायल— Shalabh Mani Tripathi (Office) (@Shalabhoffice) March 11, 2021
गेस्ट हाऊस कांड के बाद यूपी के इतिहास का सबसे कलंकित दिन
अभी सत्ता से बाहर हैं,तब इतनी गुंडई,सोचिए सत्ता में रहते कितना नशा रहा होगा। pic.twitter.com/noJpxjbYAG
“Once again, re-watch the hooliganism of the hooligans. SP goons brutally thrashed journalists. They also threatened, humiliated and chased the journalists away. This is the second shameful event after the infamous guest house scandal. They are acting like goons when they are not in power. Imagine what they would do if they come to power,” he said.