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UP: Journalist says assaulted at behest of SDM, BJP MLA; counter FIRs filed

The police, however, denied the allegations, the MLA and the SDM had nothing to do with the affray and it was the result of an argument between two groups of journalists.

Written by Avaneesh Mishra | Lucknow |
May 19, 2021 9:29:29 am
While the first FIR was filed against 10 identified persons, including the driver of BJP MLA Raghvendra Pratap Singh, the second named the journalist.

Two FIRs have been filed in connection with a video that went viral showing a group of people beating up a journalist allegedly at the behest of the local BJP MLA and the sub-divisional magistrate in the Sidharth Nagar district. The complaints were registered at Dumariaganj police station.

Ameen Farooqui, who called himself a reporter for a local Hindi news channel, claimed that he was beaten on the directions of the SDM and the MLA as he had been reporting on the alleged discrepancies of the former during the ongoing Covid curfew, police said the incident was the result of an altercation between two groups of journalists. While the first FIR was filed against 10 identified persons, including the driver of BJP MLA Raghvendra Pratap Singh, the second named the journalist.

“At a time when a Covid curfew is in force and all shops are closed, a new restaurant was allowed to open and do business. The reporter (Ameen) got us pictures and we ran the story. It was also posted on a local WhatsApp group, to which the SDM commented that some selfish journalists were behind such reports. A similar comment was made about another report on the death of eight persons due to Covid-19. On Sunday, the health minister was visiting a Community Health Centre (CHC), which has been turned into an L-2 Covid hospital, and I asked the reporter to go there and send us a report,” Rashid, Ameen’s immediate boss at the channel, said.

The reporter claimed while he was on his way back after covering the health minister’s visit, the SDM stopped Farhan, a colleague who was with him at the time, and made some uncomplimentary remarks about their journalism. “He even hurled some abuses at my colleague. As I intervened and requested the SDM not to use such words, the MLA joined in. Sensing trouble, I tried to end the argument and leave. However, someone with the SDM or MLA asked the others to catch hold of me and beat me up… Farhaan managed to shoot a video of the entire incident,” Ameen said, adding that he was taken to a police station and detained for close to eight hours.

The police, however, denied the allegations, the MLA and the SDM had nothing to do with the affray and it was the result of an argument between two groups of journalists. The Sidharth Nagar SP said once the health minister left after inaugurating the hospital, Ameen made some remarks about the SDM and some fellow journalists objected to the same, resulting in a scuffle.

The video clip shows over half-a-dozen people punching and kicking Ameen and pulling his hair in the presence of a few police personnel.

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