Journalists stage sit-in at Kerala assembly after assaults


Thiruvananthapuram : Journalists in the Kerala capital Thursday took to the streets to protest assaults on three of their colleagues and staged a sit-in outside the state assembly to demand immediate action.

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The assaults were the fall-out over a news item Asianet TV channel aired since Wednesday claiming that the CSI Medical College at Karakonam near here had collected hefty donations for admission to the MBBS course in its college here.

They channel aired telephone conversations with parents of those candidates who had already secured seats to the course even while the admission process was going on.

As Asianet reporter Sarath Kumar and cameraman Ayyappan Thursday morning reached the headquarters of the LMS Church compound where the office of the medical college is located, a group of 25 people attacked the two, damaged the camera and took away the tape.

As the news spread, several journalists reached the church compound. As they were moving towards the office of the church, another TV journalist, Marshall V.Sebastian, of India Vision TV was hit on the head by a policeman’s baton in the commotion.

Leader of Opposition V.S.Achuthanandan also arrived at the spot and condemned the assaults.

“It is most unfortunate that journalists who brought out the underhand dealings in the professional education sector are being beaten up. The government should act immediately against those who have taken law into their hands,” he said.

Top police officials reached the area. Two policemen have been suspended and two of the group that attacked the Asianet journalists have been arrested.

But the media persons were still not satisfied.

“We want the authorities to see that they get back the tape that was taken from the camera and police should arrest all those people who were involved in attacking the journalists,” said journalist R.Ajithkumar.

The journalists marched towards the state assembly, where they began a sit-in. They were joined by many legislators, both from the ruling party and the opposition.