India: media worker assaulted after seeking police protectionEvent
- Initial Date
- Jan 24, 2024
- Event Description
In a shocking incident, a broadcast journalist was chased from his home on Wednesday night, waylaid by six unidentified men on the main road in Palladam's Tiruppur district and hacked with sickles even as he was on the phone with a police personnel frantically seeking help.
Nesa Prabhu, a reporter with News7 Tamil television channel, is now battling for his life at a private hospital in Coimbatore, 450 km from Chennai, with reports suggesting that he has about 62 cuts in his body. The journalist’s colleagues said his condition was “critical.”
The incident sent shockwaves across Tamil Nadu with journalists protesting outside the Coimbatore Collectorate and at various places across the state, including in Chennai, demanding action against the accused.
While there was no word of condemnation from the government even after 18 hours, Opposition Leader Edappadi K Palaniswami, Tamil Nadu BJP chief K Annamalai, and leaders of other political parties termed the attack on a journalist as a classic case of “break down of law and order situation” in the state and asked the DMK dispensation to “wake up” to the reality.
Tiruppur District Police said they have begun investigation into the case and have secured footage from CCTVs from a petrol bunk and a restaurant in the area where the reporter was brutally attacked. The police said they have formed four special teams to nab the accused.
The incident took place at around 9 pm on Wednesday, four hours after Nesa Prabhu called the police helpline seeking protection as he informed them that two people had come to his village, T Krishnapuram, in a vehicle that had no number plate and enquired about him. Chilling audio conversations between the journalist and police show how scared Nesa Prabhu was after being chased by the gang from his home.
The journalist had in the past few days reported about state-owned TASMAC liquor outlets in Palladam area functioning beyond their working hours and other stories, including an argument between a man and police. His colleagues said Nesa Prabhu called the police control room at around 4 pm on Wednesday following which he was asked to go to the police station and file a formal complaint.
In one of the conversations with the police, the journalist is heard telling them that four people had come in an SUV and a motorcycle – both had no number plate – separately and enquired about him from his village residents.
In another conversation, a recording of which was accessed by DH, the reporter is heard giving graphic details of the people who were following him in a two-wheeler after hiding near the restaurant.
“What is the registration number? What is the colour of the two-wheeler? What is the make of the vehicle?” – the reporter patiently answers every question posed by the police personnel on the other side. Nesa Prabhu also tells the police that people who chased him can be identified from the CCTV footage, besides pleading with the men in khaki to come and save his life.
It is believed that Nesa Prabhu kept the police on the line while he escaped from his home and came to the main road where was chased once again.
“Six people are chasing me,” Nesa Prabhu tells the police personnel who ask him whether he has come to a safe place. “Yes, I am in a safe place,” he tells police, hiding near the petrol bunk.
“They are six people and how many times do I keep hiding? I can’t even sleep properly. If there is someone with me, I will go and attack them. We can catch them as they can be identified from CCTV footage,” the journalist tells the police personnel, who tells him that he will inform the inspector of police.
Within a few seconds, the reporter shouts on the phone, “sir, they have come.” “What are you saying,” asks the policeman. “I am coming to the station. Please come, I can see five cars. They have come. My life is over,” Nesa Prabhu tells the policeman, before he was hacked by the gang.
Several journalist bodies, including Chennai Press Club, condemned the incident and asked the government to swing into action immediately and bring to book the perpetrators.
- Impact of Event
- Gender of HRD
- Violence (physical)
- Wounds and Injuries
- Rights Concerned
- Freedom of expression
- Right to healthy and safe environment
- Freedom of expression
- Media Worker
- Monitoring Status
- Event Location
- Event Location
- Summary for Publications
On 24 January 2024, Nesa Prabhu, media worker, was assaulted and seriously injured by unidentified men after reporting on social issues at the local level and despite requesting police protection in Tiruppur, India.