Skip to main content

Manhandled in Ahmedabad Civil Hospital, woman journo blames "response" from Dalit activists, leftists, editors

Damayanti Dhar with Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani
By Our Representative
In a gruesome incident, which took place at the Civil Hospital, Ahmedabad, a young woman journalist, who writes for well-known news portal "The Wire", was manhandled On January 7 when she, accompanied another colleague from the daily, "Ahmedabad Mirror" (AM), were on their duty. They were seeking to ascertain facts related to M Mariraj, a third year Dalit resident doctor, who had attempted suicide claiming caste-based discrimination.
While the incident was reported (January 8) by AM as part of a story around the Dalit fury at the hospital following the suicide, Damayanti Dhar, who writes for the news portal, has said in a Facebook post that she and AM reporter Brendan-Anton Dabhi "were attacked by a mob of about 15-20 Dalit men".
"I was manhandled, heckled, my press card and our mobiles snatched away and recording deleted. All this while about 7-8 men kept recording what they did to me while abusing me verbally", writes Dhar, adding, "It has taken some time for me to be in the right state of mind to pen this down."
Dhar says, without naming anyone, "I haven’t been as much disturbed by the attack on me as much by the response I got from leftists, activists and editors, all of whom I have seen standing up for freedom of press and free speech always earlier. I was advised to let this go, take it was professional hazard, not write about this, not file complaint against Dalits."
Pointing out the reason given to her asking her for not to file a complaint was, "it would go against the movement", with some even scaring her by saying that if she filed a complaint "there might be counter complaints", Dhar says, "When no one stood by me, I decided to write to the Commissioner of Police of Ahmedabad. I am thankful that the police acted so promptly." "
Dr Mariraj
As for me, this attack made the hypocrisy of the leftists journalists-activists-editors quite clear", alleges Dhar, adding, "In past one week or so, four reporters have been either attacked or heckled by leftists, activists/Dalit activists-protestors and it is not acceptable. I wonder if these incidents were of right-wing elements heckling reporters what would the same people say."
She continues, "I have seen many taking pleasure in attack on some reporters just because they were from certain channels. As I was being attacked, in my fear, anger and disappointment of being not supported, I can feel what each of those reporters go through being attacked."
AM, reporting on the incident (January 8), said, it took place when the two journalists reached out to Mariraj. As they were interviewing him, the miscreants heckled them, forcing them to delete recordings from their phone and pushing them around while shouting obscenities in the hospital.
AM continued, things turned ugly soon after the journalists asked Mariraj about the allegation being made against him -- of overreacting. Before further questions could be asked to him, the goons led by a person identifying himself as high court lawyer and Dalit activist, locked the reporters out of the room.
When the door opened after several minutes, said AM, the mob pushed the two around, accusing them 'of being Brahminical and Manuvadi', while demanding that the interview recording be deleted. They could have been physically attacked but for the intervention of cops present there.
Dhar continues in her Facebook post, particularly referring to the manner in which the Dalit advocate behaved, he kept shouting "Brahmanwadi Manuwadi media" and "threatened me of atrocity case." She adds, "He snatched my press card from the cop who came to rescue and threatened, Dhar ho, Brahman ho, dekhta hu mein etc.", adding, "aap koi akhbar ya channel se nahi ho, zyada bade reporter nahi ho" (you are a Dhar, a Brahmin, will see you... you are not from any big reporter from newspaper or channel).

Comments

TRENDING

#MeToo moment in Hyderabad Urdu varsity? Two girl students seek action against authorities

Counterview Desk
Has the #MeToo movement reached Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MAANU)? It would seem so if a recent letter by newly-appointed chancellor Firoz Bakht Ahmed to MAANU vice-chancellor Dr Aslam Parvaiz is any indication. Seeking reinstatement of two girl victims of “sexual harassment and humiliation”, the letter specifically names head of the department of the Media Centre for Journalism, suspecting, the problem could be much deeper.
Text of the letter: It is a matter of utmost perturbation for me to receive the two representations from the girls studying in the MCJ (Media Center for Journalism) regarding their sexual and subsequently, mental and social harassment at the hands of Prof Ehtesham Ahmad Khan, the HOD, MCJ.
We do not know, how many girls have been exploited by him and preferred to be silent for saving their family’s honour; however, there are two brave girls who stood to the depraved advances and misuse by Prof Ehtesham and came up with written complai…

"Ineligible" funding of Sardar Statue in Gujarat: CAG tells Central PSUs, it's not a heritage CSR activity

By Our Representative
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, in its recent report on Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSE), has qualified public sector undertakings’ (PSUs') funding the 182-metre world’s highest Sardar Statue, currently being constructed in the Narmada river downstream of the Sardar Sarovar dam as an “ineligible” corporate social responsibility (CSR) activity.

29th "NRC-related" suicide in Assam, as Nirod Baran Das takes his life by hanging on a fan

By Our Representative
Reporting 29th case of National Register of Citizens (NRC)-driven suicide in Assam, one of India’s human rights campaign sites has said that, on October 20, tragedy struck Kharupetia town in Darrang district of Assam, when a retired school teacher and advocate Nirod Baran Das “took his life by hanging himself to a fan in his home.” The report adds, “The NRC process has so far claimed over two dozen such lives in the past four months alone.”

"Highly irregular" for PSUs to fund Sardar Statue under Corporate Social Responsibility

Counterview Desk
In a letter to I Srinivas, secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India, former secretary (economic affairs), Ministry of Finance, EAS Sarma, has raised questions on the funding of the Sardar Patel statue in South Gujarat by Central Public Sector Undertaking (CPSUs) relying on the Comptroller and Auditor General report (No 18/2018).

Murder of Tamil Nadu teenage Dalit girl: "Stoic silence" despite #MeToo movement

Counterview Desk
Brinelle D'souza, who is with the Centre for Health and Mental Health, School of Social Work, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, has prepared a strong statement to protest the brutal murder of 13-year-old Rajalakshmi. "Other than a few media reports, this gruesome killing has not caught national attention despite a very vibrant #MeToo campaign currently underway", regrets D'souza.

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Preventing childhood deaths: India performs worse than Bangladesh, "equals" Pakistan

By Rajiv Shah
A just-released study, “The Pneumonia and Diarrhea Progress Report 2018”, prepared by the International Vaccine Access Centre (IVAC) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, has identified India among 15 other countries which are still far off the mark in achieving the targets of the Global Action Plan for the Prevention of Pneumonia and Diarrhea (GAPPD).

Bank account frozen, raid on Amnesty office: Govt of India "treating" human rights NGOs like criminal enterprises

By Abhirr VP*
Amnesty India’s bank accounts have been frozen by the Enforcement Directorate, effectively stopping its work. Amnesty India is thus the latest target of the government’s assault on civil society in the country. The accounts of Greenpeace India were frozen earlier this month.

60 ex-civil servants seek release of CAG reports on Rafale, demonetisation before 2019 polls

Counterview Desk
As many as 60 retired civil servants have asked President Ram Nath Kovind to expedite the release of Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) reports on demonetisation and the Rafale deal. The letter, signed mainly by former Indian Administrative Service, Indian Foreign Service and Indian Police Service officers, regrets that the status of the audit is "unclear”. According to them, “An impression is gaining ground that CAG is deliberately delaying its audit reports on demonetisation and Rafale deal till after the May 2019 elections so as not to embarrass the present government”.

Govt of India "tarnishing" NGO reputation, dossier leaked selectively: Amnesty

Counterview Desk
Amnesty International India has said that a deliberate attempt is being made to tarnish its reputation by leaking a dossier, supposedly made by investigating agencies, to media without giving it access to any such information. The high profile NGO’s claim follows a Times Now report about proceedings launched by investigative agencies, including Enforcement Directorate (ED) against the rights body for “violations” of rules pertaining to overseas donations.