Karnataka’s Primary and Secondary Education Minister, Tanveer Sait, issued an official apology to the Times of India stringer, Shivendra Urs, who was heckled and forcefully detained by the his supporters on Monday during his campaign in Mysuru.
Tanveer acknowledged in a press statement on Tuesday the inappropriate behaviour of the party workers towards the reporter and said that they have been to behave properly.
The reporter was covering the minister’s campaign at Gayathripuram in Narasimharaja Assembly constituency when he was allegedly manhandled and dragged to a house by the party workers where he was illegally confined for about 20 minutes. The tussle started when the reporter failed to produce his ID card after party members demanded to see it.
“The men snatched my book and pen, and said that I cannot leave the place unless I see Tanveer Sait,” Shivendra told TNM. He claims that his phone was also confiscated and he was not allowed to make any calls.
Despite repeated requests to allow him to make a call to his office so that his ID card could be brought to the spot, the men refused to relent. According to Tanveer, recent media reports that allegedly tainted his reputation had incited party workers to behave in such a manner.
Shivendra registered a complaint with the police and the Chief Electoral Officer, Sanjiv Kumar, against the minister and his supporters, including a man who was referred to as Shivalingappa, who, he says, was one of the main individuals involved in the incident.
He also dismissed claims made by Tanveer that he had intervened in the matter and rescued him. “The version of the incident given by Tanveer Sait is concocted. He never intervened. He was inside a house and I was taken there.”
According to Shivendra, the minister lectured him on how journalism should be done and questioned him about an article published by the Times of India on SDPI. Shivendra added that no apologies were offered to him either by the party members or the minister himself at the time of the incident, as has been claimed.