An autorickshaw driver was arrested here on Friday on charge of assaulting a journalist following an argument over autorickshaw fare. Muralidharan, 49, allegedly abused a journalist and broke both his arms with a spanner after the passenger insisted on paying the correct fare.

The incident occurred around 11.45 p.m. on Thursday, when the senior journalist got into the autorickshaw from his office at MG Road to the KSRTC stand. The autorickshaw driver demanded Rs.40 as fare when the man and his colleague got into the vehicle. When the passengers said that they travelled along the route regularly and would pay only Rs.30, the driver allegedly began abusing the duo verbally. The passengers exited the vehicle immediately. Muralidharan then fetched a spanner from the tool box and allegedly tried to hit the duo on the head with the spanner. The journalist had both his arms fractured while trying to prevent blows to his head.

The police traced the autorickshaw driver, who went into hiding soon after, using the vehicle registration number. He was arrested by Friday evening and a case was registered against him for assault using a weapon.

The Kerala Union of Working Journalists carried out a protest march against the assault, from the Press Club to Menaka Junction and back, on Friday. The Union said in a communication that the attacked journalist had fractured bones in both his arms and would not be able to return to work for about a year.

More In: Kochi