Journalists attacked at legislator’s home

November 1, 2007
Posted November 2, 2007

Prakash Singh, NDTV
Habab Ali, NDTV
Ajay Kumar, ANI

Prakash Singh and at least two other journalists were assaulted in the central eastern state of Bihar, according to NDTV camera operator Anamitra Chakladar and local news reports.

Singh was taken into the house of Anant Singh, member of the Legislative Assembly for the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) party, and held for nearly two hours while the beating took place on Thursday morning, Chakladar told CPJ. Prakash Singh was part of an NDTV crew that had gone to the minister’s home in the state capital, Patna, to conduct an interview about a local murder case.

NDTV camera operator Habab Ali was also injured, along with ANI news agency reporter Ajay Kumar and other journalists who went to the scene on hearing of the attack, according to news reports. Cameras and mobile phones were broken by the attackers who were armed with guns and sticks, the reports said.

Police were slow to respond after the alert was raised until local journalists gathered in protest, according to NDTV’s Web site. After police arrived Prakash Singh was released and the injured reporters were treated at local hospitals. Reports differed as to the number of journalists involved.

Anant Singh and four others were arrested in connection with the incident, according to Chakladar. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar announced a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into the charges facing Anant Singh. Opposition groups in the state called for a day-long bandh, a community protest similar to a general strike, in response to the journalists’ mistreatment and JD-U handling of the situation, according to the Press Trust of India.