Journalists began an indefinite protest at Raipur Press Club on Sunday after the BJP refused to accept a demand to suspend four party members who allegedly assaulted a journalist at the BJP headquarters while he was shooting a review meeting.
The protest began Sunday morning after journalists spent Saturday night outside state BJP headquarters in demand of the suspension of the partymen. State party chief Dharamlal Kaushik and senior leader Brijmohan Agrawal arrived on Saturday night to pacify the journalists. While they condemned the incident, they refused to suspend the partymen.
On Saturday, journalist Suman Pandey from the web portal Voices.in was allegedly assaulted and forced to delete footage of BJP members arguing among themselves. A case was registered and four BJP members, including Raipur district chief Rajeev Agrawal, were arrested and later let off on bail. Journalists alleged that when the four emerged from jail, they were garlanded.
Late on Saturday night, Agrawal and Kaushik reached the BJP headquarters in an attempt to pacify the journalists protesting there. Agrawal said the it was the party leadership that “asked the four BJP men to surrender” and that the incident was condemnable and the BJP would issue showcause notices and take action. The journalists, however, pointed out that the arrest was police procedure and sought suspension of the partymen pending an inquiry by the party. They also told the leaders that around 9 pm, members of the BJP youth wing reached the protest with sharp weapons and threatened them. “You have to decide whether you stand with the fourth pillar of democracy or with goons,” Pandey, who suffered a cut on his head Saturday morning, told the senior leaders.