Journalists assaulted, van of a television news channel damaged in Jodhpur
Even as the sacked Rajasthan Water Resources Minister Mahipal Maderna was hospitalised in Jodhpur on Sunday after skipping the Central Bureau of Investigation interrogation in connection with the disappearance of auxiliary nurse Bhanwari Devi, his supporters allegedly attacked media persons and damaged the van of a television news channel outside the hospital.
Mr. Maderna, who has also been suspended from primary membership of the Congress, was taken to the Mathura Das Mathur Hospital in Jodhpur by his family members when he complained of chest pain. He has been admitted to the hospital's intensive care unit.
The former Minister was stated to be sweating when he was taken into the ICU. Doctors said he was a diabetic and also a blood pressure patient.
He was admitted to the hospital after he reportedly conveyed his inability to attend the third round of questioning by the CBI because of health problems.
As news about Mr. Maderna's hospitalisation spread in the city, a large number of his supporters gathered to enquire about his health. He had been grilled for two consecutive days by the CBI.
Some of his supporters allegedly attacked the journalists when they were trying to talk to his daughter Divya on the issue outside the hospital.
Two persons received minor injuries, while the windscreens of a TV channel's van were broken.
The crowd tried to snatch the microphones of TV reporters. Some cars parked in the vicinity were damaged. The attackers were able to flee the scene despite police presence.
Later, the Mr. Maderna's supporters hurled stones at the office of news channel Eenadu TV being constructed in the city. They allegedly tried to break open the doors and ransack the office.
Police have registered cases against “unidentified persons” in connection with the violence and deployed additional force in the area. There was all-round condemnation of the incident with the demand for arrest of the culprits and security measures for journalists.
In Jaipur, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot convened a high-level meeting to take stock of the situation and termed the incident “unfortunate.”
Home Minister Shanti Dhariwal said the attackers would be identified and punished and the law “would be allowed to take its course.”
While Pradesh Congress Committee president Chandrabhan said there was no place for violence in a democracy, State units of the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Communist Party of India condemned the incident and demanded strict action against the guilty as well as steps for protecting the freedom of Press.
The Pink City Press Club demanded registration of a case against Mr. Maderna's wife, Leela Maderna for allegedly provoking people.