Four photojournalists and a driver were injured when a group of villagers attacked them at Santha village at Mahwa in Dausa district on Thursday. They also damaged their vehicle, cameras and laptops. The media persons were on way to cover a clash between ITBP personnel and villagers during the polling.
The incident has not only exposed professional hazards for the media persons but also corroborated the Election Commission's concerns about sensitivity in the area.
According to police, a group of people forcibly tried to enter a polling booth at Santha, a Meena community dominant village. When the ITBP personnel asked them to move away, they reacted angrily and pelted stones at them following which the security personnel fired over a dozen rounds in the air to disperse the miscreants. The mob also set fire to a vehicle of the ITBP.
A media team rushed to the spot to cover the news but were stopped midway and asked to return. When the team insisted to visit the spot, a group of irate people attacked them and damaged their vehicle, said assistant public relations officer Pramod Vaishnav, who was heading the media team.
"They pounced on us like wolves. Before we could understand what was happening, the mob damaged our vehicle, cameras and laptops. They also beat us up and ordered us to leave the place as soon as possible," said Rajesh Jobanputra, one of the injured photojournalists, who works for an agency. Other injured include Rohit Jain Paras, Sunil Sharma and Gyan Prakash Awasthi.
The injured journalists were given first aid at Mahwa government hospital and rushed to Jaipur. The area became so tense that even the police shunned away from visiting the area.
Chief electoral officer Ashok Jain said that necessary guidelines were issued to the district administration and the police for security of the media persons.
Later, tribal leader Kirori Lal Meena visited Santha and appealed the people to maintain peace.