In a cowardly intimidation tactic, anti-women Sabarimala protesters attacked The News Minute’s reporter Saritha S Balan in Pamba. Saritha was on a KSRTC bus that was full of Sabarimala devotees when a mob of 20 men surrounded the bus and tried to get her out. Saritha was on the bus to cover the Sabarimala protests, when it was 'inspected' by Karma Samithi. Saritha was intimidated by the mob and violently physically attacked and verbally abused.
As the police tried to give a protective ring to Saritha to get her out of the bus, the mob physically attacked her, and one of them in fact kicked her on her spine. The mob used the worst kind of verbal abuses against her as well. She was kicked from behind as angry devotees took her photograph, called her derogatory names and chanted slogans in the name of Ayyappa. A woman also tried to throw a water bottle at Saritha.
Saritha is currently in a police station, but the station, too, is surrounded by goons claiming to be devotees. This attack happened just minutes after another journalist -- Republic TV's Pooja Prasanna -- and her crew were attacked by a mob, their car smashed, and their equipment stolen.
The mob kept taking pictures and videos of Saritha, and said that they were trying to stop her from entering the temple. "I have no intention of entering the temple, I am only here to cover the protests. This should have been clear from my attire -- I'm wearing jeans and a kurta. Then how can they claim I was trying to enter the temple in the guise of a devotee?" Saritha asks.
"If they did not want reporters to cover the protest, why did the BJP invite the media for coverage?" she asks.
The News Minute condemns this cowardly intimidation tactic by anti-women mobs claiming to be devotees, and stopping journalists from doing their job. Why was the police not prepared to give protection to all women in the region?