2 Punjab journalists say ‘heckled’ by AAP MLA in assembly’s press lounge

The duo from digital outlet ABC Punjab had claimed there was a rift between two party leaders.

WrittenBy:Sumedha Mittal
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Two journalists have accused Harmeet Singh Pathanmajra, the AAP MLA from Patiala’s Sanour, of heckling them inside the Punjab assembly’s press lounge. 

The alleged incident took place a day after the journalists claimed in a YouTube video that there was a “rift” between the legislator and AAP’s Rupnagar MLA Dinesh Chaddha.  

Sandeep Singh Ladhuka and Mandeep Singh, who work for digital media outlet ABC Punjab, have written to Punjab speaker Kultar Singh Sandhwa seeking disciplinary action over the alleged incident which took place on Wednesday afternoon during a break in budget session proceedings in the assembly. The journalists in their complaint also claimed they were threatened and sought protection.

Ladhuka claimed the speaker has “assured us that he will talk to” Pathanmajra.

A copy of the complaint to the speaker.

However, Pathanmajra has denied that the journalists were heckled and accused them of publishing a defamatory video and misbehaving with him. “The reporters have defamed us. I have spoken to my lawyers. We will soon be filing a defamation case.”

‘Fight in CM’s presence’

ABC Punjab was launched in 2022 and has around 2 lakh subscribers on YouTube and 7 lakh followers on Facebook. 

In a video on ABC Punjab’s YouTube channel on Tuesday, the journalists claimed that the two AAP MLAs had “fought” in front of Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann after trying to meet the party’s top leader and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and complaining about each other. The journalists claimed that the trust deficit within AAP was massive unlike other parties.

Ladhuka told Newslaundry that MLA Chaddha called him at night, “urging” him to delete the video. “The MLA said that the story is incorrect and the two MLAs had not fought with each other. He asked ‘if we take you to court over this story, how will you prove that you were right?’. But I stood by my report and told him that I will be able to defend it in court too.”

His colleague Mandeep Singh alleged that Pathanmajra approached him in the assembly’s press lounge the next day. 

“I was sitting in the press lounge…when both the MLAs, Pathanmajra and Chaddha, came to me. Referring to our report, MLA Pathanmajra said that it is incorrect; that how dare we carry it and went ahead with abusing me. I asked him to calm down and said that if you have any issues with the story, we can discuss it after the session is over. But then he threatened me by saying that ‘I will hit you with my shoes’. Though MLA Chaddha did not say anything, he also did not stop his colleague,” Singh told Newslaundry

Ladhuka separately met Pathanmajra in the lounge. “The MLA shouted at me saying…‘do you even understand journalism?’ This was in the presence of over 10 reporters. I replied saying there is no need to abuse me. I have a license to report from the legislative assembly. That’s why I am here to do my job. In case you have an issue with my report, you can take legal action. But I won’t tolerate this.  Then he held my hand and pushed me out.”

However, Pathanmajra denied all the allegations. “What they have shared with you is half information. We went to ask why they had published the story. But they talked back, saying we can file a case against them. I told them this is not the language to talk to us. They have been rude.”

Newslaundry reached out to Chaddha and Punjab speaker Sandhwa for comment. This report will be updated if they respond. 

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