Panchayat Polls: Journalists Held Captive, Beaten Black And Blue For Covering Booth Rigging

Jajpur: The Panchayat Elections this year in Odisha has been witness to a series of incidents of violence, unruly mob activities and blatant violation of model code of conduct. With 62 persons arrested in connection with poll disruption incidents in the first two phases, the third phase of the polls held on Sunday was no exception.

At least four journalists were brutally beaten and held captive by a mob which was engaged in booth rigging. The journalists who were engaged in reporting live from the spot in Binjharpur block of Jajpur district, were beaten black and blue for doing their job.

The brutal attack on the journalists have been captured on a mobile camera, which shows at least four miscreants raining fists and blows on a reporter who was covering the elections at Binjhapur. According to reports, the journalists were capturing an act of ballot boxes being looted by the miscreants at Booth number 2 and 4 in Bacchal panchayat under Binjharpur block.

The reporters who were attacked are: Gulshan Ali Khan of Argus, Debasis Sahoo of Kalinga TV, Bijay Sahu of Kanak News, and Himanshu Padhi of Odisha Sambad. Among them, Khan was attacked by a mob. The journalists were held captive and their vehicles were damaged in the process, reports added. While police forces rushed to the spot and took control of the situation, the big question remains, where was the police when the booth rigging was taking place and the scribes were assaulted, said locals.

In the wake of the violence in first phase of panchayat polls, the SEC had issued strict directives to the State police to act against the perpetrators and take pre-emptive measures to prevent untoward incidents. In this connection, the journalists have lodged an official complaint with the State Election Commission and demanded an inquiry followed by action against the miscreants.