A group of assailants in the southeastern Indian town of Chirala on February 5, 2017, beat M Nagarjuna Reddy, a reporter with the Telugu-language monthly magazine Basa, according to his employer, press reports, video, and a memorandum the journalist filed with the Andhra Pradesh Human Rights Commission in Hyderabad, the state capital, on February 14.
The attack came a day after the February edition of the magazine appeared on newsstands. That edition included an article Reddy wrote alleging that Amanchi Krishna Mohan, a legislator representing Chirala in the Andhra Pradesh state legislature, was involved in illegal sand-digging and that he and his brother, Amanchi Swamulu Mohan, used the names of third parties to secure bank loans, later defaulting on them. The brothers denied those allegations, according to a national broadcaster NDTV. Amanchi Krishna Mohan did not answer the Committee to Protect Journalists’ repeated calls.
Reddy said the men were led by Amanchi Swamulu, according to media reports. The editor of Basa, who is known only by the name Vidyasagar, told CPJ that Reddy’s assailants “used iron rods, sticks and knives to beat him up, and the local police remained mere spectators.” Amanchi Krishna told the broadcaster CNN News 18 his brother’s actions were a response to Reddy’s abusive language.
Reddy was immediately rushed to a government hospital in the Guntur district of Chirala, which refused him treatment, Bharat Bhushan, a friend of the journalist’s, told CPJ.
“They refused to treat him, urged him not to file a case against the local [politician] and used abusive language against him,” Bhushan told CPJ.
“The next day, [February 6], he was taken to a private hospital in Guntur where he was admitted for two days. His fingers are badly injured and he can’t even hold a pen properly,” said the journalist’s friend.