Kolkata, May 23: We know Journalism plays a very important role in any democracy. Freedom of the press in India is guaranteed by Indian Constitution under the article 19, freedom of speech and expression. But are the Journalists from Bengal really enjoying their basic right? The current incidents happening there don’t give a supportive affirmation to the question. Yesterday, the opposition party of Bengal, CPIM organized a protest against violence in the state. More than 24 journalists and photographers from different news agencies got beaten by Kolkata Police when they tried to cover the event.
CPIM’s ‘March to Nabanna’ has not been taken as a mere protest by Kolkata Police. Lakhs of CPIM supporter from all over Bengal came to join the rally. After 2 pm, the situation started to degrade. Police used tear gas, lynching to break the gatherings. Then CPIM supporters started throwing random targeting police. More than 180 CPIM supporters got injured and 69 policemen were also injured. When the Journalists tried to cover the total situation, Police started beating them.
As Bengali newspaper Ei Samay reports, the journalists are complaining that the attack was totally planned. A large group of journalists is alleging that ADCP south Aparajita Rai and AC Pradip Dam were leading the incident. Though Additional Police Commissioner of Kolkata Supratim Sarkar has made an apology to Journalists but he mentioned only 3 Journalists were attacked. Being unable to manage the demand for an apology, he made an official statement but he could not provide a single logic of the question how police force could harass them in front of high profile police officers from Lalbazar.
Injured Journalists Pritha Dasgupta, Anupam Patra is now the in hospital for treatment. A photojournalist of Rajasthan News, Mritunjay Biswas has got a wound in his head. Trayan Chakroborty from News Times, Jibananda Basu from Bartaman, Arka rajpandit from ganashakti, Sharmin Begam from Kokata TV- the list goes on. Calcutta Press Club has raised voice against this. Journalist from all parts of the state has condemned the incident. They have raised a valid question- if Journalists are not safe even in Kolkata, then what is the condition of rest of the state? The secretary of Press Club Rahul Goswami stated, “The police officers responsible for the act should be punished. “ This is not the first time; Kolkata is witness of same from the first term of Mamata Banejee. Banning several newspapers from state library to arresting journalists to major attack on them – the legacy continues.