The house of Malini Subramaniam, a regular contributor for Scroll.in from Bastar in Chattisgarh, was attacked in the wee hours of Monday by unknown assailants, with stones being hurled at her car. The police have refused to file an FIR even as the threat to her remains imminent, according to Subramaniam’s lawyer.
Scroll reports that hours before the attack, close to 20 men gathered outside Subramaniam's house and shouted “Naxali Samarthak Bastar Chodo. Malini Subramaniam Mordabad” (Naxal supporter, leave Bastar. Death to Malini Subramaniam.). At least two of them reportedly belonged to a group called Samajik Ekta Manch. Malini is known for her detailed ground reportage on police atrocities in the region.
A police complaint has been filed at the Kotwali police station in Jagdalpur. As of 4 30PM on Monday, Malini Subramaniam confirmed that no FIR has been filed.
Speaking to The News Minute, Isha Khandelwa, Malini’s lawyer, said that police officials at the Bastar SP’s office have also refused to file an FIR. “The threat is imminent. What will she do if someone attacks her? She lives alone with her kid here. We even told the police that she is under threat, but there was no support or security offered,” she said.
Subramaniam has reportedly come under pressure from several groups and the police in the past month for her critical reportage.
Subramaniam is not the only journalist to face police harassment in Bastar. Last year, two journalists, Santosh Yadav and Somaru Nag, were arrested on charges of aiding Maoists. In October, hundreds of journalists organised a rally in the state capital Raipur to protest against their arrests and to demand more protection from the government. After journalists took out another rally in Jagdalpur in December, Chief Minister Raman Singh announced the setting up of a committee of editors that could vet complaints against journalists before the police stepped in.