Barely three days after chief minister Raman Singh assured the media fraternity on upholding the tradition of press freedom to maintain the spirit of democratic values, the house of a reporter Malini Subramaniam who writes for Scroll.in, a digital news portal, was targeted by a group of 20-odd men in Jagdalpur, some 300 km south of Raipur.
On Sunday night several men gathered outside her residence and shouted slogans - Naxali Samarthak Bastar Chodo, Malini Subramaniam murdabad (Maoist supporter leave Bastar, death to Malini Subramaniam) for over half-an-hour. They also “urged women” from Subramaniam’s neighbourbood to join them, alleging that she was supplying arms to Maoists, and could plant bombs in their homes too and asked the neighbours to throw stones at her home.
“After they left I called the Bastar SP Rajendra Das to narrate the incident. When I told him some men from Samajik Ekta Manch shouted and protested in front of my house the call was disconnected. I repeatedly tried but the Bastar SP perhaps had blocked my phone number. Even he didn’t bother to call back”, Subramaniam said and further added that she identified couple of men who were active members of recently constituted Samajik Ekta Manch aimed to “counter Maoist” and “support the police” in the strife torn Bastar zone.
Later at around 2.30 am on Monday, some men allegedly threw stones at her home shattering the rear glass of the car parked in the porch.
The Bastar SP told HT that he will look into the incident. “I am away from district headquarter and unaware about it. Will see to it after I return”, he said.
Scroll.in believes that Subramaniam has been targeted as she has extensively reported on human rights violations including tribal protests against police atrocities, allegations of sexual violence by security forces and fake encounters in Bastar region.