I am not scared, this attack on me will resonate in society: Kamal Shukla

With a bandaged head injury, in pain when talking, the Bastar-based senior journalist says goons want to kill him for exposing sand mafia

Image Courtesy:indianexpress.com

Brutal attack on.

“Kill me,” senior journalist Kamal Shukla is seen sitting dazed on the ground after he was   brutally attacked in Kanker, Chattisgarh on Saturday. The video shot/ shared by journalist Tameshwar Sinha attack was by criminals allegedly affiliated with the Congress-I led state government. Shukla just sat there, and when someone who was not very coherent on the phone video, asked if he would like to go, probably to a hospital or the police, he just said “no, [come] kill me all of you”.


Multiple, short phone videos, shared by journalist Tameshwar Sinha, some probably also shot by bystanders, witnessing the brutal attack by goondas who surrounded and beat up Shukla went viral, on social media over the weekend. In the most disturbing one, the gang of goons are seen raining blows on Shukla, in another he is seen sitting dazed. Shukla later told the media, after he had received first aid and was stable, that the attack was prompted by those opposed to his reports on illegal sand-mining and other irregularities in the area. Shukla, told local media that he had rushed to the aid of another journalist Satish Yadav, who had been attacked earlier, when he was dragged out and beaten. 


The attackers who dragged him out of the police station are clearly visible in some of the  video but police took time to register an FIR, The Free Speech Collective reported that Kamal Shukla had said that he thought he would “get some protection inside the police station but the police were unresponsive and told him to file his complaint and leave. He was dragged out and beaten”.

Screenshot of video of the attack published in  free speech collective. 

This horrific attack on the journalist took place in daytime, and in a public place, shows how the goons had no fear of getting caught and punished, either by the law keepers or by the public. Kamal Shukla spoke to to the media after the attack


“They want to kill me. I heard them saying “kill this Kamal Shukla. My journalist colleague Satish Yadav, has been reporting on these goons and raising a voice about the goons, who have been elected. They were angry at him and had dragged him to the police station. I came to the police station to support my colleague but the anti-social elements also gathered there” said Shukla. He has alleged that they were attacked, “inside the police station,”. He alleged that he called the area SP, and collector but no one picked up. He alleged that one man, who identifies himself as “a representative of the local Congress MLA, Shishupal Shori,” waved a pistol at him, “this must be recorded on the police CCTV.” Shukla says he was targeted because he has reported on Shori’s alleged involvement in sand smuggling. “The SHO told me to file my complaint report and leave, I realized I was not safe in the police station,” said Shukla, adding the mob attacked as soon as he stepped out of the police station.

Journalist Satish Yadav too spoke to the media about the attack on him and alleged that a “mob came in a car, and men named Jitesh Thakur, Maqsood Khan and others”, beat him and continued to do so as they dragged him “inside the thana”.


Journalists in Chhatisgarh have protested the attack and demanded that the Bhupesh Baghel government take immediate action against the assailants. According to news reports, apart from Shukla and Satish Yadav, another reporter –  Jivand Haldhar – was also attacked.

According to a report in The Wire, the local police is treating the incident as one of ‘personal rivalry’ rather than press freedom, and one of the politicians has filed filed a counter complaint against the leading Chhattisgarh journalist Kamal Shukla, who is editor of Bhumkal Samachar magazine and head of the Patrakar Suraksha Kanoon Sanyukt Sangharsh Samiti. The superintendent of police, M.R. Ahire, told The Wire that an FIR has been registered in the matter under sections 294 (public acts of obscenity), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 34 (act done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).  Jitendra Singh Thakur, Ghaffar Memom, Ganesh Tiwari, Maqbool Khan and others have been named in the FIR. “However, the police have described the assault as a clash between two groups due to some ‘aapsi ranjish’ (personal rivalry)” stated the report.

And a “counter complaint” has also been registered by one of the accused, Ghaffar Memon. “We have also received a counter complaint against Shukla but it is yet to be converted in an FIR,” the Kanker SP told The Wire. In his complaint, Memon has alleged that it was Shukla who abused him and threatened to kill him. According to Memon, the incident started when Shukla abused him for not paying for an advertisement  published in his magazine. “Given that Shukla is a ‘criminal minded’ person and has a sedition case pending against him, I am afraid that he might do something untoward against me,” says Memon’s complaint to the police demanding strong action against the journalist.

However, according to Shukla these charges are only a hog wash, as the four accused were invited to the thana and then let off as these were bailable offences.  He is demanding atleast 307 (attempt to murder) and 324, stated The WIre report.

Speaking to Free Speech Collective, the SP of Kanker M R Ahire, said that necessary action will be taken against the perpetrators as appropriate in the law.  However, what emerged a few hours later were diluted charges against those who attacked Shukla. Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel when asked to respond to the attacks on Shukla, said he condemns such attacks and that appropriate cases will be filed against the attackers. However Baghel claimed that his government was better than the previous Bharatiya Janata Party led government.  He took examples of the times when journalist  Santosh Yadav, was charged under Chhattisgarh Public Security Act, “even the news agency that had hired him refused to accept him as their reporter,” he said adding that there had been a difference visible “in the past two years,” asserting that press freedom was better in his  regime.

He was asked about the Chhattisgarh Protection of Mediapersons’ Act  – a bill that has been under discussion since a year, Baghel said the bills was in its final stage , stated news reports. Ruchir Garg, Media Advisor to the Chief Minister, told Free Speech Collective, “No doubt there has been a delay, but the processes of consultation though prolonged are on to have a good law in place”, he said reiterating that Justice Aftab Alam , under whose chairpersonship the consultation is being undertaken, has taken personal interest in taking the widespread suggestions that are pouring in.

Kamar Shukla has been at the forefront of the campaign demanding legislation for the protection of journalists in the state, reported The Wire. In April 2018 he was charged with Sedition, after he shared  on social media, a cartoon  that allegedly made derogatory references to the judiciary and the government,”. He has insisted he was falsely charged.


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