Hindu mobs attacks NDTV office over Hussain


Ahmedabad : About 20 members of a previously unknown Hindu group in Gujarat Saturday attacked the NDTV office here after it ran a SMS poll listing painter M.F. Hussain as a contender for Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honour.

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The men stormed the office in the heart of the city and broke windowpanes, air conditioners and electrical fittings and damaged other equipment in a systematic manner, taking the staff by surprise.

A staff member who tried to stop them was beaten up with hockey sticks. He was taken to hospital.

NDTV employee Joydeep Sen Gupta said Ashok Sharma, the self-styled president of Hindu Samrajya Sena, called up the channel office and claimed responsibility for the attack.

But Sharma reportedly added that he was not personally involved in the attack as he was away attending a wedding at Viram Gaon, around 60 km from here.

Before fleeing, the attackers left behind posters and banners describing the channel as “traitors” and demanding an apology from it.

The office of the channel is located in a bungalow near the Loyola School of St. Xavier.

NDTV was, however, able to restart operations in a short time, Rajeev Pathak, a journalist, told IANS.

Joint Commissioner of Police Satish Sharma quickly visited the office and promised that the attackers would be identified and strict action taken against them.

Gujarat Home Minister Amit Shah Saturday condemned the attack.

Apparently the same group had threatened the channel two days ago. A person identifying himself as an electrician had come to the office demanding to speak to the reporters. He was told that the reporters had left for the day.

Before leaving, the person had reportedly said: “Whatever you are doing is not correct.”

Nonagenarian Hussain, arguably India’s best-known painter, has been forced to live in exile in Dubai after some radical Hindu groups threatened him after he painted a Hindu goddess in the nude. He has subsequently apologised for hurting religious sentiments.