‘Outsiders and goons’, not students, harassed journalists during protests at Jamia Millia Islamia

‘Outsiders and goons’, not students, harassed journalists during protests at Jamia Millia Islamia

‘Outsiders and goons’, not students, harassed journalists during protests at Jamia Millia Islamia

Saurabh Sharma

Pratima Mishra, 28, a journalist with ABP News stepped out of her house on early Monday morning to cover the ongoing protests of Jamia students against the Citizenship Amendment Act having no idea that she would face a situation she had earlier faced in 2016.

Pratima was heckled by a group of people near Jamia University on Monday. Earlier, in 2016, she had faced a similar situation while reporting and was asked by a group of lawyers to recite, ‘Vande Mataram’ outside the Patiala House court in Delhi. 

Narrating what she went through the senior anchor cum news reporter says, “I was there on the spot with my cameraman since 6 am in the morning and was doing my job of talking to students knowing their stand.”

“At around 7 am, a protestor named Sehzad arrived and he was protesting against the police brutality by sitting half naked and we were trying to convince him to wear the shirt as it was too cold and to be very honest we were doing our best job to bring out the best stories of what happened in the university previous night,” she says, adding, “We kept doing it till 1 pm and then students started forming a human chain and were protesting silently but then at around 2 pm some people came from the back side and one of them tried to switch off the camera.”

‘Students came to our rescue’

“They were about four or five in numbers. They were shouting that we are biased and they encircled me in a way that nothing could have been recorded on camera if something was done to me by them but thankfully within no time four-five students came to our rescue and took us to a safer place, away from the spot. In the meantime, I kept on asking my cameraperson Maan Singh Rajput to keep recording what was happening,” Pratima describes. 

She further said, “Later, the students who rescued me and my cameraperson told me that these people who tried to stop us from reporting were not students and were locals. The most surprising thing is that the police did not do anything and were a mute spectators of the incident.”

Godi Media Go Back

Recounting the horror ANI’s journalist Ujjwal Roy says that he was beaten badly near the Gate No. 1 of Jamia Milia Islamia University by people who were not students, and looked and behaved more like goons. 

“I was returning after covering the press conference which was held by the Jamia vice-chancellor. On reaching gate number one which is towards Sukhdev Vihar I saw protestors approaching towards us with about 20-25 people. They were shouting -- ‘Maaro Maaro Godi Media Walo ko Maaro’. They were also vandalizing the cars and motorcycles parked on the road and within no time they started hitting me on my back, on my face and even forehead,” Ujjwal says. 

He further says that he has been in the profession since the last eight years and has never faced such a situation. 

“After I ran away from the spot those people caught my cameraperson Saravjeet and beat him up. They were also hurling abuses and trying to break our belongings like cameras and other things. They were not students I can say for sure, they were goons. Students never indulge in such kind of activities,” he says, adding, “The policemen were standing at a stone’s throw distance but they did nothing. They could have at least video recorded the entire incident and identified who these people were. These people did not just beat journalists but were also damaging the public property and creating ruckus. ”

“We are journalists and we will go where the news is and the bigger question is who is there to protect us?” asks Ujjwal Roy. 

Phone calls to Delhi police commissioner for their version in this entire episode went unanswered. Ujjwal says that he had been covering the protest since the beginning. Ujjwal was immediately rushed to the hospital along with his cameraperson where they both received first aid and were then discharged.

It may also be mentioned that BBC Hindi’s journalist Bushra Seikha was allegedly manhandled by the cops in Jamia on late Sunday evening. 

“I came here for the BBC's coverage. The police took away my phone and broke it. A male cop pulled my hair. They hit me with a baton and when I asked them for my phone, they hurled abuse at me,” Sheikh was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

“I didn't come here for fun. I came here for coverage,” she said.


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