Two reporters of Marathi TV channels and their cameramen were assaulted by the management of a tribal residential school near Nagpur on Monday.
The Maharashtra-1 and IBN-Lokmat media personnel were reportedly covering the alleged irregularities in the tribal department-sponsored Ahilyadevi Holkar Anudanit Adivasi Ashramshala at Ukhali village near Nagpur, when they were assaulted by the secretary of the school, Shrikrishana Mate, and his son Mukesh.
Sources said Maharashtra-1’s cameraman, Saurabh Hole, the head of its Vidarbha division, Gajanan Umate, an intern of IBN-Lokmat, Surbhi Shirpurkar, and cameraman Prashant Mohite had gone to the Ashramshala seeking verification of the ‘fraud’ committed by the school management.
Umate and Hole said Mate and his son intercepted and assaulted them when they tried to enter the school, and even attempted to set fire to their vehicles. “We have lodged a formal complaint with the Hingna police station,” Umathe said.
However, Mate said that the reporters and cameramen had not sought permission before entering the school and its classrooms.
“We just told them it was unfair to shoot a video of the classroom without valid permission,” he said. Mate refuted claims that the school management assaulted the journalists and added that they lodged a complaint with the local police against the reporters for trespassing.
Several journalism organisations, including the Nagpur Union of Working Journalists have condemned the incident and demanded that the secretary and his son be arrested immediately. “We have sent a letter to the chief minister, Devendra Fadnavis, who also holds the home portfolio, in support of the demand,” says Shirish Borkar, secretary of the union.