A journalist in Uttar Pradesh has filed a complaint against an aide of Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra for allegedly assaulting and threatening him during her visit to Sonbhadra district on Tuesday, PTI reported.
Ghorawal police station official CP Pandey confirmed that they have filed a case based on the complaint by ABP News journalist Nitish Kumar Pandey. The complaint stated that Vadra’s personal secretary Sandeep Singh abused him and also touched his camera during his reporting of the Congress leader’s visit to Umbha village.
A video of the incident showed Singh threatening to hit the journalist and accusing him of being a Bharatiya Janata Party stooge after he asked Vadra about her opinion on the scrapping of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status. Singh took the journalist away from Vadra and threatened him. He also accused Nitish Kumar Pandey of taking money from the BJP to ask her such questions.
Mrityunjay Kumar, the media advisor to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath, shared the video on Twitter and said: “Priyanka Gandhi, please stop the theatrics of wiping the tears of the poor.” He questioned the Congress’ policies on press freedom and said the state government was committed to ensuring the security of journalists.
The Mumbai Press Club condemned the attack. “Such language against a journalist who was performing his duty is highly condemnable and requires urgent attention from the Congress party and their higher ups,” the Press Club said in a statement. “We condemn the verbal and the physical attack on the journalist and his team member.”
The organisation sought an apology from the Congress as well as action against “such rogue elements” within the party. “We also request the concerned police authorities under whose jurisdiction this incident took place to immediately act against the man seen in the video threatening the journalist,” the statement added.
Vadra was visiting Umbha village in Sonbhadra to meet the families of the 10 Adivasis who were killed in a shooting following a land dispute on July 17. Apart from the 10 villagers who were killed, nearly 28 people were injured in the shooting. At least 26 people, including village head Yaghya Dutt Bhuriya, were arrested. Bhuriya and his associated allegedly opened fire at the villagers over a land dispute. The incident triggered a political controversy with the Congress and the Samajwadi Party criticising the state government. Adityanath blamed the Opposition parties for the incident.