In a brazen attack against journalists, two Karnataka-based scribes were hospitalised on Wednesday after they were assaulted by employees of a pharmaceutical company in Tumakuru. Four people have been arrested in connection with the attack.
The two victims, Manjunath and Devaraju, are journalists for Raj News and Samaya TV Kannada news channels respectively.
According to police, the journalists were attacked for reporting about the environmental hazard being created by a pharmaceutical company named Beloor Biotech Boylor a locality in Tumakuru. Since June 8, smoke has been emanating from the factory after one of their boilers exploded. The smoke has been causing difficulty for children, elderly and the sick in the area.
The journalists were on the spot reporting the news when around four to five people attacked them. Police said apart from the assaulting the two, the attackers also damaged two cameras and two tripods.
Based on a complaint filed by the two news channels, Tumakuru police on Wednesday arrested four people, including the HR representative of the pharma company.
“They have been booked under Sections 307 (attempt to murder), 146 (rioting) of the Indian Penal Code and other stringent sections. We are investigating and we need to know at what exact point this violence took place,” Tumakuru SP Vamshi Krishna told TNM.
Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara, who visited the two journalists at the hospital, said, “I have asked officials to inspect the boiler blast and take appropriate action against the owner and concerned officials. Journalists from various channels were attacked by a group of about 50-60 employees of the firm. The incident should not have occurred.”.
“I have instructed the SP to ensure that the attackers are arrested. I have also instructed the hospital to ensure that the journalists are treated on priority. I condemn the attack on the freedom of the press,” he added.
The development in Tumakuru came on the same day when an UP-based journalist Amit Sharma was accosted by General Railway Police as he went to cover an incident of a train derailment near Dhimanpura in Shamli district.
"I was locked up, stripped and they urinated upon right into my mouth," the victim, Amit Sharma of News24, told reporters. Station House Officer Rakesh Kumar and GRP constable Sunil Kumar have been suspended and a probe has been ordered into the incident.