Y.S.V. Datta, MLC and Janata Dal (Secular) spokesperson, said on Friday that charging a journalist, who was an eyewitness to the July 28 homestay attack here, along with the assailants showed that the police were not interested in taking the case to its logical end.

Mr. Datta told presspersons here that Naveen Soorinje, a Kannada TV reporter, was the prime witness to the shocking attack on men and women at the homestay.

“The police should have used him as witness and ensured that the people behind the attack are convicted. But by charging him with the same offences as persons involved in the attack, the police are trying to make the case weak.” This indicated the influence of the fundamentalist forces operating in district, which wanted to protect their men arrested in the case.

Mr. Datta said the police intentionally delayed submission of post-arrest investigation report in order to delay Mr. Soorinje’s release on bail on Thursday. The report was submitted on Friday afternoon only after he brought this to the notice of Police Commissioner Manish Kharbikar, he said.

The arrest of Mr. Soorinje showed the ill intentions of the BJP government. This was the BJP’s way of cautioning journalists against reporting anything that embarrassed the government. Mr. Datta admitted that there was a delay on the part of the party in raising the issue. “We did not have any clue that the case would take such a serious turn when the chargesheet was filed (in September last week).” Mr. Datta said the party was not raising the issue just because Mr. Soorinje worked in the channel managed by JD(S) State unit president H.D. Kumaraswamy. “We are concerned over the attack on the media, the fourth pillar of democracy,” he said.

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