Journalist Beaten, Stripped In Kolkata For Covering Poll Violence
A photojournalist with The Times Of India, Biplab Mondal, was stripped and beaten in Kolkata while covering nominations for the panchayat polls in the state, scheduled for the first week of May.
According to Mondal, violence had broken out at around 2.30 pm on 9 April, while the nomination process for the polls was on in Kolkata’s Alipore. He was clicking pictures of the same on his mobile phone and was just about to leave when he was rounded up by a bunch of goons, allegedly from the Trinamool Congress. They asked Mondal to delete all the photos from his phone. When he refused, he was beaten up.
On 11 April, journalists in Kolkata took out a protest march to condemn the incident.
Meanwhile, Mondal, who said who was unable to join the protest because he was helping with the investigation, alleges that he was specifically targeted because he was a journalist
“I told them that I was from the press, but they said that since prohibitory orders were imposed around the nomination area, the press shouldn’t have been around”, Biplab Mondal told The Quint.
“They first beat me up because I wouldn’t give them my phone, and then beat me up even more when I wouldn’t give them the lock-code to my handset”, he added.
I initially refused to remove my clothes when they beat me up some more and took off my trousers and shirt themselves. Then they said that they’re going to take photos of me in that state and put them on social media – as a message for other journalists like me who go “out of line”.Biplab Mondal to The Quint
Biplab was saved when other journalists, who saw him being beaten up and taken away, came to help him with reinforcements.
The Times Of India has written a letter to the Commissioner of Police, Kolkata. A statement of Biplab’s has also been taken by the police. No arrests have been made in the case so far.