Two journalists who were covering a police raid on a bar at Mira Road early on Friday morning were brutally assaulted by the bar’s employees with sticks and bottles. Another journalist, whom the Mira Road police had called in and informed about the assault on the two scribes, was found murdered a few hours later.
Around 1 am on Friday morning, a police team raided White House bar and rescued 14 women. Journalists Santosh Mishra and Shashi Sharma, employed with weekly newspapers in the area, got to know about the raid and reached the bar while it was in progress.
They were soon joined by a third journalist, and clicked photographs to record the raid. But soon after the police left, bar employees charged at the journalists with sticks and bottles. The three tried to flee, but Mishra and Sharma were caught and brutally beaten up. The third journalist, who did not wish to be named, said he escaped by locking himself into a nearby police chowky. “They ran towards us armed with bamboo and bottles and we fled from the bar to save ourselves. Mishra ran towards Kashimira while Sharma fled in the opposite direction. I saw a beat chowky barely 100 metres from the bar, ran to it and locked myself inside," he said.
When the police got to know about the incident around 2 am, they tried to get in touch with Mishra and Sharma, but were unable to. Later, deputy superintendent of police Suhas Vawache got in touch with another journalist, 35-year-old Raghavendra Dubey, and informed him about the assault.
Dubey, police officials said, reached the police station around 3 am and got into an argument with them over the safety of journalists, asking how Mishra and Sharma were beaten up so close to a beat chowky. Police officials pacified him, and Dubey left the station around 5 am.
Half an hour later, however, the police claimed they received a call from someone who told them that Dubey’s body had been found near SA Residency at Mira Road, a few metres from White House bar. A preliminary medical examination suggested he had been assaulted with iron rods and died of severe head injuries.
"We have detained six bar employees in connection with the assault and are trying to find out if Dubey's death is linked to it," said Rajesh Pradhan, superintendent of police, Thane rural.