In a viral video doing the rounds on social media, a journalist, who is also a YouTuber, can be seen being manhandled allegedly by the authorities.
The incident is said to have happened on Wednesday, 19 January, in Dala village of the Singrauli district in Madhya Pradesh.
The journalist being pushed away in the video has been identified as one Shubham Pathak from Singrauli who was covering a protest by the locals against land acquisition by government.
In the viral video, Shubham Pathak can be heard asking the villagers if their demands have been met. He is interrupted by Sub Divisional Magistrate of Chitrangi, Singrauli Nilesh Sharma, who asks Pathak to ask the questions from him instead. The journalist can then be seen being pushed away and beaten up.
Shubham Pathak and Shivam Pathak were covering a protest of the farmers in Dala village of the Chitrangi block of the Singrauli district when they were allegedly roughed up by the authorities.
Shubham asked one of the protestors if the issues for which they have been protesting have been resolved, to which the protestor said 'no'. It was at that moment that the authorities walked up to them and said: "byte lena hai to mujhse lo na (Talk to me if you want a byte.)"
Subsequently, however, he was thrashed by the authorities.
Talking to The Quint, Shubham Pathak said:
"When I started asking the questions to ADM and SDM, from whom I had taken permission earlier regarding this, they didn't like my line of questioning. SDM Nilesh Mishra sir pushed me aside and after that someone slapped me. I couldn't figure who among the crowd hit me."
"My younger brother who was handling the camera was also dragged for nearly 50-60 metres and was beaten up by the supporters of the authorities," he added.
Locals say that the SDM got furious once the reporter started asking questions and pushed him aside. The supporters of the SDM allegedly thrashed the journalist, broke his mobile phone, and later got the police to file an FIR.
Shubham Pathak (26) and his brother Shivam Pathak (19) were both named in the FIR filed by the Bargawan police station under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) Sections 353 (Assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 186 (Obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions), 294 (Obscene acts and songs), 506 (Punishment for criminal intimidation), and 34 (Acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention).
"We have filed an FIR from the administration's side who have alleged interference in the government's work and of abusive language. There has been no complaint from the other side. The probe is on."Virendra Singh, Superintendent of Police, Singrauli
Pathak said he started covering issues related to the local population because he understood the way corruption works in the area. However, he added he was worried that the authorities might not be pleased by his endeavours and may take partial actions against him and his brother.
"An FIR, too, has been lodged against me and my brother. This is the kind of abuse I am trying to uncover through my channel. Is it wrong to ask questions and should we, who question on behalf of our people, be treated like this," he asked.