The journalists were returning after reporting on the fire when a stone was hurled at one of the women by a drug addict; when she confronted the group of nearly 15 addicts, all five scribes were manhandled and attacked
Five journalists, including two women, were manhandled and attacked by a group of nearly 15 drug addicts near a chawl in Santacruz East on Thursday, where they had gone to report on the deaths of four people in the fire caused by the cylinder leak.
Manashri Pathak (24) and her cameraperson Narayan Parmar, who work with the Marathi news channel ABP Majha, were returning from the chawl in Golibar Nagar, where the fire took place, around 12.30 pm, when a drug addict, from a group of nearly 15 sitting on the terrace of a BMC pump house nearby, hurled a stone at her, eliciting laughter from the others.
When the 24-year-old confronted the group and asked who was responsible for the act, one of the drug addicts came down and began hurling abuses at her. Others also joined in and when Parmar tried to come to her rescue, he was slapped and attacked.
Journalists Sachin Gaad and Shrikant Sankpal from the Mi Marathi channel and a female cameraperson from TV9, who had also gone to cover the story, tried to intervene. The female cameraperson was slapped, Sankpal was beaten up and the druggies tried to snatch Gaad’s cellphone.
“We were returning when a stone was hurled at Manashri from the terrace of the pump house. When she confronted the drug addicts, they began abusing her and, in no time, they were swearing at all of us and beating us up. Many local residents were present at the spot, but none of them came to our aid. We somehow managed to escape and reached the Vakola Police station to lodge an FIR,” said Gaad.
A journalist from the Saamana newspaper, who stays in the same locality, recorded a video of the incident. “These druggies always create problems for passers-by. They harass women and have even carried out robberies,” he said.
Senior Police Inspector Mahadev Vavle from Vakola police station said, “We have registered an FIR under various sections of the IPC, including 354 (Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 323 (Voluntarily causing hurt), 506 (Criminal intimidation), 509 (Word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) and 34 (Common intention).
We will transfer the case to the Nirmal Nagar police station because the incident took place in their jurisdiction.” One Salman was arrested and two others were detained later in the day and the top brass of the Mumbai Police has ordered the immediate arrest of the other accused, said officials.