The Punjabi Press Club of British Columbia (PPCBC) has come out with a strong statement against assaults on three reporters by alleged supporters of the ruling Hindutva nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in India. The August 11 incident happened in New Delhi, the national capital of India, the world’s so-called largest democracy.
Three journalists, including one Sikh, one Muslim and an unidentified woman were harassed and physically attacked by a mob after they had gone to do a follow up story in the area hit by sectarian violence in February.
It is the same place that saw an organized attack on Muslims by BJP supporters. The pogrom was allegedly planned to terrorise Muslims and secularist activists who were demonstrating against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) passed by the BJP government. The law discriminates against Muslim refugees coming from neighbouring countries, and gives amnesty only to non-Muslims. This had enraged people across India and evoked sharp reactions in other parts of the globe. Delhi witnessed many peaceful demonstrations.
On Tuesday, The Caravan magazine had sent three journalists, Prabhjit Singh, Shahid Tantray and a woman reporter, who did not want to be identified, to do a story.
Those who came to attack the three included a BJP official. The assailants made lewd remarks and obscene gestures toward the female journalist, while Singh and Tantray were beaten and kicked. They also made hateful remarks about the Muslim identity of Tantray.
The members of PPCBC unanimously denounced the incident, and called for action against those involved and protection to journalists who continue to face threats and intimidation under the current political environment of India.