A female journalist working with Mojo TV--a Telugu news channel and the camera person in her crew were also attacked on Wednesday by men who were protesting against the entry of women of menstual age into the Sabarimala shrine.
According to police, under the aegis of Sabarimala Ayyappa Seva Samajam, several Hindu organizations including VHP had organized a protest at Dharna Chowk near Indira Park, Lower Tank Bund. However, when Mojo TV crew tried to cover the event, the crowd objected to their coverage, and asked them to leave the venue by raising slogans 'Go Back Mojo TV'.
Last year in September, when the Supreme Court passed the verdict that women of all ages can enter the shrine, Mojo TV took a stand on the issue, and sent its female reporter, Kavitha to enter the temple. However, angry protesters prevented Kavitha and activist Rehena Fathima from entering the temple. Since then, the Hindu groups against women entry into Sabarimala both in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana are angry with the channel for their position on the issue.
Speaking to TNM, the reporter, Prathiba said, "As usual, we got to know about the event and went to cover. When we were waiting to take their byte, someone made an announcement asking people not to give any byte to us. This led to a ruckus."
"When we were returning to our cars, suddenly 15-20 members followed and surrounded us. They started shouting 'because of you people, women entered into Sabarimala'. We then had an argument with them. During this time, a man in an orange shirt attacked my camera person and tried to assault me."
The crew later submitted a video of the incident as evidence to the Hyderabad Police Commissioner, Anjani Kumar seeking action against the offenders.
Gandhi Nagar police station House Officer, Sreenivasa Rao, said, "The crowd were raising slogans and the situation escalated quickly. Our personnel present there rushed to their rescue and escorted them to their vehicle. We asked them if they wanted to file any complaint, but they didn't," he said.
However, Chief Executive Officer of Mojo TV, Revathi told TNM that the behaviour of police was 'worse', as they asked their crew to leave the premise, since the organizers had objected to their presence.
She said, "The police asked our crew to leave the premises, and threatened that they would file a case against the crew since it was a religious issue. How can they ask the media not to cover an event?"
She also took to Twitter to slam the police.
Mojo Pratibha and Mojo Bhanu were attacked. Unfortunate how the police behaved during the whole issue @hydcitypolice! Cops telling my team saying they would file charges on us is just sad! They asked our team to file a case and then they would see. @MojoTVChannel pic.twitter.com/qYQgOv0OsHâ€” Revathi (@revathitweets) January 23, 2019
Watch this image! This is the image of what happens to democracy when fascism takes over! When fanaticism under the disguise of religion starts attacked democracy! Dear @hydcitypolice this happened on your watch! @MojoTVChannel pic.twitter.com/Az8ha4M4tvâ€” Revathi (@revathitweets) January 23, 2019
Meanwhile, the organizers disowned the offender, who has been caught on camera.
Prem Gandhi, president of Ayyappa Sena, said, "We did ask them to leave the venue, and raised slogans; but we don't know the offender as several Ayyappa organizations were part of the protest."