First came petrol bomb, stones, then they shot at me: reporter

Akash Napa was shot at on Tuesday. Special Arrangement

Akash Napa was shot at on Tuesday. Special Arrangement  

Several other journalists allege threat or assault by rioters

Lying in a bed in Ward 14 of GTB Hospital here on Wednesday, news reporter Akash Napa (34), who sustained a bullet injury few centimetres from his chest, shook his head before he said in a feeble voice that “there was no police”.

A journalist with JK 24X7 News, Mr. Napa got shot by rioters on Tuesday afternoon while he was covering the riots in north-east Delhi. Mr. Napa was yet to undergo a surgery as doctors were waiting for him to get a “little more stable”, his family said. Mr. Napa told The Hindu that he was shot by a mob in Yamuna Vihar, who first pelted stones and threw a petrol bomb before opening fire at him.

Scores of other reporters, who have been covering the violence, have alleged that they were either threatened or assaulted by the rioters in north-east Delhi.

Mere saat jo tha, woh chala gaya [The guy, who was with me, has died],” Mr. Napa said with a sense of loss. The reporter claimed that he was shot by anti-CAA protesters.

Mr. Napa had got married about one-and-a-half-years back and has a son. “If something happens to him, what will happen to my grandson and my daughter-in-law?” said Mr. Napa’s father Ramprakash .

Mr. Napa had left his house in Krishna Nagar on his motorcycle around 12 p.m. on Tuesday after receiving a phone call regarding the violence in Mustafabad. “I did a live session from Bajanpura. Then I thought I should check what was happening in other areas and went to Yamuna Vihar. I parked my bike and asked a man how the situation was. He told me to go with him and I went.”

“First a petrol bomb was thrown, then there was stone pelting. We were trapped. There was no place to run,” Mr. Napa said. “The people were protesting on a culvert in Kardampuri,” he said.

“He has been targeted because he is a journalist. They [rioters] do not want their crimes to be recorded,” his father said.

Saurabh Shukla, a reporter with NDTV, said he and his colleague was attacked by a group of rioters and he had to show his “rudraksha” to convince them that he was a Hindu.

Multiple reporters claimed they were stopped by the rioters from taking photos or videos in north-east Delhi and that their phones were also checked.

Though not shot, other journalists also faced the wrath of the rioters. Sanchit Khanna (25), a photojournalist with Hindustan Times, said his bike was set on fire by rioters on Monday in Bajanpura. “First they burned my bike. I was at the terrace of a building and as the rioters entered the building and started thrashing another photojournalist, I ran out. But another group caught me on a narrow street and made me delete the photos of the violence I had clicked.”

Somrita Ghosh, a reporter with New Indian Express, said: “On Monday, I was told by rioters in Karwal Nagar and Bajanpura not to click photos. One walked up to me in Bajanpura and said, ‘We are talking to you politely since you are a woman. Keep your phone inside and leave’.”

“I was stopped twice and asked to show my phone. They wanted to make sure I did not have any photo or video of the violence,” said Sourav Roy Barman, a reporter with The Indian Express. “They did not directly ask my religion, but they asked my name,” he replied when asked if the rioters enquired about his religion.

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Printable version | Apr 10, 2020 12:33:01 PM |

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