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HT reporter chased, threatened by sand mafia in Faridkot village

It started as the reporter, Gagandeep Jassowal, took pictures and videos of the earthmovers engaged in illegal mining around the legally-auctioned quarry around noon. He was following up on a report on how the illegal mining had left behind a trail of scarred landscape (January 9). 

punjab Updated: Feb 16, 2018 21:42 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Faridkot
illegal mining,Gagandeep Jassowal,media freedom
A landscape ravaged due to illegal mining near Dod village in Faridkot district, as clicked in January 8. (HT File Photo)

A reporter of the Hindustan Times covering illegal mining on a site near Dod village, 15 km from the district headquarters, was chased and threatened by men belonging to the sand mafia on Friday, though police intervention averted further harassment.

It started as the reporter, Gagandeep Jassowal, took pictures and videos of the earthmovers engaged in illegal mining around the legally-auctioned quarry around noon.He was following up on a report on how the illegal mining had left behind a trail of scarred landscape (January 9).

As the men at the site noticed the reporter, they ran towards him and he rode his bike towards the village’s residential area. The chasers were in a Mahindra Pik-Up (PB04-V-6177) when the reporter stopped at Machaki Kalan village on the Sadiq-Faridkot road.There, he called Faridkot’s senior superintendent of police, Nanak Singh, and told him about the chase. By then, the men reached him, asked him what he was doing there, and took his phone to delete the pictures of the devastated landscapes.

The SSP had told the reporter “not to worry” as he dispatched inspector Iqbal Singh Sandhu to the spot.

As Gagandeep told the men that he is a reporter, the men told a “boss” this on the phone, and then threatened him with: “We will definitely see you again.”They backed off as commuters gathered in the reporter’s support; but left only after the police inspector reached there.

Meanwhile, HT’s area bureau chief Prabhjit Singh also informed the zone’s inspector general, Mukhwinder Singh Chhina; and a formal complaint was later lodged with the SSP.

In the evening, deputy superintendent of police Jastinder Singh Dhaliwal called the sand mine manager Mandeep Singh to his office where he apologised to the reporter.

First Published: Feb 16, 2018 20:49 IST