Large posse of policemen posted to avert violence; media crew attacked

Differences between two groups in a locality in Royapuram created unease and resulted in some tense moments on Sunday morning.

A huge posse of police personnel ensured there were no flare-ups between the groups, after a television news crew that went to the locality to report was assaulted in the afternoon.

The tension was over a poster of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) that was found torn up on Parthasarathy Street in the morning. Other party-related promotional material too was damaged, alleged VHP functionaries. The Hindu right-wing group was celebrating the inauguration of its 48 unit at Royapuram.

VHP alleged members of Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) were behind the incident. The inauguration function, however, went off smoothly, as a contingent of the armed reserve police kept watch.

Members of both VHP and SDPI alleged they were assaulted on Sunday and some of their workers were hurt. However, R. Sridhar, joint commissioner of police (north zone), told The Hindu it was only a rumour and no violent incidents had taken place from morning.

TV crew assaulted

Around 1.30 p.m. on Sunday, a crew from Tamil news channel, Thanthi TV — reporter Gokul and video-cameraperson Balaji — went to the spot and, while trying to speak to residents of Parthasarathy Street, were assaulted by an irate group.

Some persons snatched Balaji’s video-camera and damaged it. They also struck him on the head with an iron rod. He was taken to Government Stanley Medical College Hospital for treatment.

A group of men were also seen asking other journalists, who had gone to the area to gather news, to leave or risk getting hurt.

Nimayatullah, a resident, said the locality was known for its religious harmony and such skirmishes were unheard of.

By evening, several journalists had gathered at the police commissioner’s office to demand that those who assaulted the news crew be nabbed. Journalists’ associations in the city condemned the incident.

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