The controversial deaths of two young boys studying in spiritual guru Asaram Bapu’s ashram gurukul is threatening to snowball into a major issue following the attacks on journalists and camera crew on July 18. The journalists were covering the protests following the boys’ deaths in Motera, Gujarat, where the gurukul is situated, when they were attacked by Asaram Bapu’s supporters. The supporters badly beat up the journalists and destroyed the broadcasting equipment, including the OB vans. Scribes from Aaj Tak, Times Now and TV18 mostly bore the brunt of the attacks.
The attack has come in for sharp criticism from all quarters. The News Broadcasters Association (NBA) has strongly condemned the attack. Voicing concern about the growing violence against journalists and media organisations, intolerance and resentment against the media, NBA President G Krishnan, said, “Journalists and media workers provide a service that is essential for any democratic society and keep the public informed. There can be no acceptable reason for attacking the men and women who help make possible the fundamental right of freedom of expression.”
He reiterated that preventing journalists from performing their duties violated the freedom enshrined in and guaranteed by the Constitution.
The NBA President urged the Chief Minister and Home Minister of Gujarat to restore law and order and ensure that journalists were allowed to perform their duties in a free and fearless manner. Krishnan further said, “I hoped that the state administration would take action to book the culprits, displaying that no individuals are beyond the law of the land.”