In an incident that has shocked Tamil Nadu, Nesa Prabhu, a Tirupur-based journalist, was brutally attacked by unidentified assailants just 500 m away from the Kamanaickenpalayam police station in the district on Wednesday, January 24. TNM accessed the recordings of the multiple calls made by Nesa Prabhu to the police in the chilling moments leading up to the attack. In the final call, Prabhu is heard screaming, "They have come again" and uttering the words, "Mudinjadhu” (It is over).
On January 24 night, Nesa Prabhu was attacked with sickles and knives by a group of six unidentified men, causing grievous injuries. He is currently under treatment at a private hospital in Coimbatore. Eyewitnesses state that the assailants recorded the entire attack.
Nesa Prabhu, who resides in K Krishnapuram, which comes under Kamanaickenpalayam police station limits, made the first call to the police control room around 4.30 pm on Wednesday. In the recording of the call, he is heard giving his name and address, following which he says that his life is under threat. He also informed the police that he had done a story on the illegal sale of liquor in Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation outlets operating in Tirupur, and another one regarding an inspector threatening a trader and demanding bribes. The police in the control room are heard telling him that the concerned police station will contact him for further details. Other calls reveal how Nesa Prabhu's ordeal unfolded as he made multiple desperate calls to the police for assistance, only to find himself abandoned and defenseless.
The journalist provided crucial details to the police in his earlier calls, stating, "Two persons with helmets were standing near my house. I came out and took my car, and they followed me until the petrol bunk. They watched me for a while. They are now heading towards Palladam. They are on a black Yamaha bike." He is also heard saying that it was the fourth time that he was being followed. He added that the unknown person had asked for his address to his father himself. “Six people came in a green Toyota car and asked about me in a mobile shop opposite the Sripathy Hotel," he further said.
In another call to the police, Nesa Prabhu told them that the assailants had entered the garden in front of his house, and were chased by his dog. He also said that the people following him were on vehicles without number plates, and emphasised the urgency of the situation.
The managing editor of News7 channel Thiyaga Chemmal alleged that despite Nesa Prabhu's repeated requests for help, the Kamanaickenpalayam police station failed to intervene.
The police have, meanwhile, arrested two persons – Praveen (27) and Saravanan (23) – and booked them under section 307 of the Indian Penal Code. Four special teams were formed to conduct the probe. Further investigation is underway to find the motive behind the attack.
The incident has sparked concerns about the safety of journalists in the region and has prompted calls for a thorough investigation into the attack. Journalists all over the state have condemned the brutal attack on Nesa Prabhu and urged the government to take stringent action against the perpetrators. They also sought an investigation into the police inaction in the matter. The Chennai Union of Journalists urged the state government to give protection to the elderly parents of Nesa Prabhu. Reporters in Coimbatore staged a protest in front of the Collectorate demanding the assurance of the safety of journalists in the state.