A journalist and her colleagues were allegedly attacked and threatened on Thursday, December 6, while they were reporting on illegal mining in an eco-sensitive zone around Bannerghatta National Park in Greater Bengaluru.
The police have so far taken three people into custody in connection with the incident.
News 9 TV journalist Nabeela Jamaluddin and her colleagues had gone to Tulasipura in Jigani taluk in the outskirts of Bengaluru to report on one crusher unit. After reporting, they were leaving from the spot in their cab and suddenly, they were blocked by six men for 25 minutes. The six men abused the TV crew and asked the footage, which they recorded, to be deleted.
“Seven people came and surrounded our car as we were moving towards the main road. They blocked our vehicle and started banging on our windows and threatened us to step out of the car. When we refused to step out, they started banging on our windows again and also threatened my car driver of dire consequences,” a part of Nabeela’s complaint copy reads.
Nabeela also mentioned that the goons insisted them to delete the footage immediately in front of them. On being refused, the attackers continued to threaten the crew and constantly banged on the window using abusive language.
Talking to the media, Nabeela said, “Since mobile connectivity is poor there, we could not reach police officials quickly. It was only after many dropped calls that I could reach the police including Anekal Deputy Superintendent of Police and give our location. But due to the remoteness of the place, it was a little difficult to locate us.”
But this is not the whole story, after both sides reached the Bannerghatta police station, instead of turning to the goons, the police starting questioning Nabeela and her colleagues and asked them why were they present there at the first place. One of the attacker said that the crew stepped into a private property without permission.
Nabeela further claimed that the crusher unit did not have necessary paper work from the state pollution control board and other authorities to run as a legal entity, even if they had clearance from the Mines and Geology Department.
“It was at this moment when I lost my cool. They could understand and see my hands were shivering due to the shock but still they were taking the side of the men. Later, after the DySP called, they mellowed down and listened to me,” said Nabeela.
Nabeela lodged a formal complaint based on which an FIR was registered by the police. Sections under which the accused were booked include Section 341 (wrongful restraint), 252 (intent of fraud), 504 (insult with intent to provoke breach of peace) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code.
Following the complaint, police have arrested three of the accused? Umesh, Muralu and Shankar and a local court sent them to 15 days in judicial custody.