Police in Andhra Pradesh have booked a case of assault against the brother of ruling Telugu Desam Party MLA Amanchi Krishna Mohan on Monday for thrashing a journalist in broad daylight in Chirala town.
A video clipping of the assault which happened on Sunday, went viral in the social media, evoking angry reactions from journalists across the state. Hundreds of media persons took out a rally in Chirala in Prakasam district on Monday demanding stern action against the MLA’s brother and his followers.
The video footage shows Amanchi Swamulu, brother of the TDP MLA representing Chirala assembly constituency, chasing and thrashing a journalist Nayudu Nagarjuna Reddy who works as a part-time reporter for a television channel and also runs a local Telugu magazine.
Swamulu is seen in the footage thrashing Reddy with a stick, while his aides kicked and punched him at the local Gandhi statue centre. A couple of policemen remained mute spectators, while two other civilians were pushed aside when they tried to rescue the scribe.
The reason for the attack appears to be an article written by Reddy in his magazine “Matti Chetula Baasa” (Language of the Oppressed) in its latest issue that hit the stands on Monday. In the article titled “Chiralaku Cheeda Purugu” (A pest attacking Chirala), Reddy described how the MLA was allegedly indulging in corrupt practices including illegal sand mining, land encroachments and fraudulently obtaining loans meant for economically backward persons.
After the assault stopped, local journalists immediately took him to the Chirala health centre for first aid before shifting him to the Guntur general hospital, about 50 km away.
Following a formal complaint from Reddy, the Chirala town police registered a case on Monday against Swamulu and others for assault. But they have not disclosed under what sections of the IPC, the case was registered.
When contacted, Prakasam district superintendent of police Dr C M Trivikram Varma told Hindustan Times that no arrests had been made so far. “The case is still under investigation,” Varma said, refusing to give further details.
The Andhra Pradesh Working Journalists Federation has strongly condemned the incident, and is petitioning the local administration and the state government to take immediate action. Federation general secretary G Krishna Anjaneyulu alleged that Reddy, who had suffered serious injuries, was brought back to Chirala by the police under the pretext of questioning.
“When we staged a dharna in front of the police station, the police said they were only taking a statement from him on the incident,” he said.
He alleged that the police were trying to file a case against the journalist under SC/ST Atrocities (Prevention) Act for making allegations against the MLA, who is from a Scheduled Caste. He demanded immediate arrest of the MLA’s brother and all others involved in the assault.
“If the news report was wrong, he could have proceeded against the scribe legally, instead of taking the law into his own hands,” Anjaneyulu said.