Assaulted at YSRCP event, Andhra photojournalist hospitalised with ‘hearing loss’

Police filed an FIR only after pressure from local journalists, claimed his colleagues.

WrittenBy:Prateek Goyal
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Police are trying to identify suspected YSR Congress supporters who assaulted a photojournalist during a party event in Andhra Pradesh’s Anantapur. 

K Shrikrishna, a 41-year-old photojournalist from Telugu channel ABN Andhra Jyothy, was covering Andhra Pradesh chief minister and YSRCP chief Jagan Mohan Reddy’s public meeting in Rapthadu when he was assaulted on Sunday. He is now receiving treatment at Apollo hospital in Hyderabad for head, eye and ear injuries.

Shrikrishna has had a sudden hearing loss in his left ear since the assault, claimed his brother K Dheeneshwara. 

ABN Andhra Jyothy is seen as an outfit critical of the YSRCP. 

V Ramkrishnedu, a senior journalist who works with the channel and was on the spot at the time of the incident, said that three reporters and a photojournalist from the outfit had reached the venue on Sunday morning. He claimed that they were warned by other media professionals to leave as we “openly criticise” the YSCRP. “We chose to stay there without revealing our identity…to cover the event.”

As the event wrapped up, Shrikrishna started “clicking pictures of guests leaving the stage”. “Some party workers asked him why he was taking pictures of empty chairs…some of the party workers saw his identity card and suddenly around 50 of them ran towards him and led an attack on him,” claimed Ramkrishnedu.

“They dragged him for around 800 metres and were continuously beating him. He was kicked multiple times in his face. Around 5,000 police officials were deployed for the event, but not a single cop came forward to save him. After that, finally a police inspector made him sit in the police vehicle. Despite him sitting in the police vehicle, YSRCP party workers were attacking him. They even chased the police vehicle.”

A video of the incident showed the photojournalist being assaulted by a mob.

Shrikrishna was first taken to the Rapthadu police station, then to a government hospital, subsequently to a private hospital, and finally to Apollo, Ramkrishnedu claimed.

Suresh Babubobburi, ABN Andhra Jyothy’s Anantapur in-charge, said that the photojournalist was attacked “just because our channel reports factually about the government and the YSRCP. We don’t have any personal enmity with any party. We report what we see and find on the ground.” 

“We have reported in the past how YSRCP is distributing biryani and liquor to mobilise people” during the YSRCP’s public meetings across the state as part of the Siddham campaign, he said.

Babubobburi claimed that an FIR was filed only after a complaint was submitted by Andhra Pradesh Working Journalists Union to the Anantapur SP.

Anantapur SP K.K.N. Anburajan said, “We have registered the FIR under cognisable offences. The culprits will be taken on remand. We have accessed the video and have started the procedure to identify the accused persons. I have promised to journalists that they will be provided security as per their request.”

Asked for comment, YSRCP spokesperson Ravi Chandra Reddy said, “I am not aware of this incident. I have to get the details to comment on it.”

Newslaundry also reached out to Jagan Mohan Reddy’s chief PRO Srihari Pudi, who said that he was “concerned only with the chief minister” and “not with the party”. “I cannot comment.”


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