Scribe & Kin Attacked by Sarpanch Over Critical Story in Valsad
Harshad Ahir is Bureau Chief for ‘Gujarat Mitra’, and had filed a story on the inefficient beautification of a pond.
The Quint DAILY
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A journalist based out of Valsad was assaulted by a former Sarpanch of Bhagdawada village on Saturday, 6 July, for running a story in the newspaper which highlighted the poor execution of a government project.
34-year-old Harshad Ahir is the Valsad Bureau Chief for the daily ‘Gujarat Mitra’ and the previous week, had filed a story about the ‘inefficient’ beautification drive at a pond in Bhagdawada village. The former sarpanch of the village, Dharmesh Patel, was incensed by the story and he, along with six men, visited Harshad’s home on Saturday, 6 July, night and assaulted him, his wife and his infant child.
Harshad, his wife Ketna (30) and their 1½ year old daughter live in an apartment in Bhagdawada village, which falls under Valsad city. Several journalists based out of and around Valsad came in support of Harshad and took out a protest march on the streets on Monday, 8 July, before meeting the district collector and superintendent of police.
An FIR has been lodged and three persons have been charged under the Indian Penal Code’s Sections 323, 452 and 506 for assault, house trespassing and criminal intimidation. So far the cops have arrested only one person.
According to Harshad, he was watching TV with his family at their home when he started receiving calls on his phone.
“We had just finished dinner and were watching TV when I received three missed calls. In a matter of minutes, Dharmesh Patel reached the gate of my apartment with a group of men and asked me to come downstairs. I knew something was off and refused to come down. But that was a mistake, because Dharmesh came upstairs with two men to my third-floor apartment, broke the door and assaulted me and my wife, and they even kicked my daughter.”Harshad Ahir
Harshad has claimed that Dharmesh hurled abuses at him for filing a negative story about the development work at the lake and threatened to kill him as well. According to Harshad, his news story did not mention any corrupt practices in the development of the lake.
“In my story I had only highlighted that the beautification drive of the lake had started five years ago. But the recent heavy rains damaged most of the work done and I simply highlighted the how ineffective the beautification drive was,” he added.
Valsad police have booked three and arrested, Jaydev Desai, an accomplice of Dharmesh Patel.
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Topics: Gujarat Journalist Attacked Valsad
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