TNIE reporter attacked in court complex in Bengaluru

Image used for representational purposes only

Image used for representational purposes only File photo

BENGALURU: In sheer violation of press freedom, 23-year-old reporter Rakshith Gowda TT of The new Indian Express was attacked and robbed of his cell phone by a group of four unknown men. The incident took place just outside the courtroom on the second floor of the Additional Chief Metropolitan Maguistrate court complex on Nrupathunga Road on Saturday evening around 5.30pm.

Rakshith covered the hearing in the Renukaswamy murder case, in which noted Kannada actor Darshan is the second accused. Darshan was to appear in court for which the reporter was present to report.

As he stood in the hallway waiting for the hearing to begin, four unidentified individuals approached him and began questioning him about his identity. When he replied that he was from the media, they immediately started attacking him, after which he was reportedly dragged almost 50 meters. They also verbally abused him and told him to leave the court complex, threatening him with “serious consequences” if he was ever seen again.

The men, who were reportedly dressed in formal white shirts with full sleeves, also snatched his cell phone. The TNIE reporter, though bruised and bleeding, walked out of the court complex and went straight to the jurisdiction of the Halasuru Gate Police to report the incident. A few police officers deployed for Darshan’s court hearing stood as silent spectators even as he sought their help.

HT Shekhar, DCP (Central), rushed to the police station and dealt with the matter personally. He instructed his officials to file a complaint and initiate an investigation immediately. Meanwhile, Rakshith’s phone was collected and handed over to him by the DCP.

“After Darshan’s court hearing, some lawyers came and handed over some phones, saying they belonged to the reporters. A number of unknown men took the phones of reporters covering the trial. When they noticed problems, the phones were handed over. We will obtain the CCTV footage from the court and take action against those behind the attack,” the DCP added.

Lawyers Association of Bengaluru president Vivek Subba Reddy said some miscreants were publicly responsible for this unfortunate incident while actor Darshan was being produced. “We condemn such an act. I am sure that law enforcement agencies will get to the bottom of this and take appropriate action.”