Featured Image: Journalists run for cover as policemen (encircled) lathi-charge them from all sides. An injured photographer bleeding from the head.
By A Newsman
Kolkata, 22 May: IN yet another new, Kolkata Police today first fired teargas shells and then carried out a ruthless lathi-charge on media persons covering the Left parties’ march to state secretariat Nabanna this afternoon.
What’s more! This happened barely 100 metres away from the Calcutta Press Club, which happens to be the oldest club of working journalists in India.
The police action has sent three journalists to hospital: their injuries vary from wound in the head and other areas in the body to breathing trouble. They are Anupam Patra, Pritha Dasgupta, and Pritish Banerjee ~ incidentally all employed with Bengali TV news channel Calcutta News.
Another four to five media person has suffered non-hospitable injuries such as bruises. As a damage control, towards evening, senior Kolkata Police officer expressed regret over the police atrocity on journalists and assured a probe.
“The attack on journalists, whatever may be the circumstance, is condemnable and unfortunate. Some media persons have shared footage of the incident and we have also procured footage from our sources,” additional commissioner Supratim Sarkar said in the evening.
“A probe will be conducted to identify the policemen responsible for this and action will be taken. I, on behalf of Kolkata Police, express regret over the incident and wish speedy recovery of the injured journalists,” he added.
The police attack on journalists came when a group of them were waiting near the Gandhi Statue on Mayo Road to hear reactions from CPI-M leader Surjya Kanta Mishra, Biman Bose, and Congress leader Abdul Mannan over the police lathi-charge on Left workers earlier in the afternoon.
There were also some Left workers shouting slogans and humming songs of protest. All of a sudden, police started firing teargas shells targeting the media persons, making them run for cover. The journalists then walked up to the policemen that was being led by divisional commissioner (STF) Murli Dhar and sought to know why they had been targeted.
Instead of pacifying them, policemen shooed them away. Peeved at this, the media persons resorted to a road blockade at the intersection of Dufferin Road and Mayo Road, barely 100 metres away from Kolkata Press Club. This brought traffic to a standstill.
Police soon rushed in and ordered the media persons to lift the blockade. An argument broke out over this and in the course of this, police suddenly resorted to an indiscriminate lathi-charge on the journalists.
Injured by the teargas shells and lathi-charge Anupam Patra, Pritha Dasgupta, and Pritish Banerjee have been admitted to hospitals. A few other photographers have taken first-aid before returning to office to file the snaps they clicked during the day.
Journalists in Kolkata have convened a silent protest march from Rabindra Sadan to Kalighat tomorrow against the police action on fellow workers.