‘I was just doing my job’: Journalist threatened for reporting on Piyush Goyal

An FIR has been registered against four unidentified men.

WrittenBy:Tanishka Sodhi
Piyush Goyal in headgear traditionally worn by Koli fishermen.

Neha Purav, 43, has been a journalist in Mumbai for 25 years. But last week was the first time she received threats over her news report. Now, she’s worried about her safety. 

Purav, whose official name is Sukhda Sadanand Purav, is a reporter with Marathi newspaper Navakal. On April 14, she reported that union minister and BJP’s Mumbai North candidate Piyush Goyal had covered his nose with a handkerchief while passing a koliwada, a village of the Koli fisherfolk community, on his campaign trail in Mumbai.

A picture of the report in Navakal.

The report was widely circulated on social media. Goyal, who is fighting his maiden election, was criticised for being disrespectful of the Kolis, who are Mumbai’s original inhabitants, and for being insensitive. News agency ANI later dutifully reported that “Koli fisherwomen rubbish Congress’ allegations against Piyush Goyal”. 

Incidentally, while filing his nomination as a candidate for the Mumbai North seat on April 30, Goyal wore a cap traditionally worn by Koli fishermen. 

About 11 days after Purav’s report was published, four unidentified men arrived at her doorstep. According to Purav, the four men rang the bell at her house at 10.30 pm on April 25. When her husband opened the door, they quizzed him about the news report. 

When Purav and her husband asked them to leave, one of the men “threatened” her, she said, and told her “not to write such reports again”.

Two days later, she reported the matter at MHB Colony police station in Borivali West. An FIR was lodged against unidentified persons under Sections 448, 506, and 34 of the Indian Penal Code.

“I was just doing my job as a journalist,” Purav told Newslaundry. “Nothing of this sort has ever happened in all these years of reporting on different parties.”

Purav said that no one from Goyal’s team has reached out to her yet over the matter. The opposition, however, jumped on the issue and offered “solidarity”, with Shiv Sena (Uddhav Bal Thackeray) leader Priyanka Chaturvedi accusing the BJP of arm-twisting the journalist, and Congress Youth President Akhilesh Yadav visiting Purav.

A statement issued by the Congress youth wing said, “It is deeply concerning that journalists are being targeted for simply doing their job of reporting the truth. Such attacks not only undermine the principles of democracy but also pose a threat to freedom of expression, which is a cornerstone in our country.”

The Mumbai Press Club also issued a statement condemning the threats received by Purav and urged the Mumbai police to take action against those responsible. 

Also see
article imageIn poll season, is it only glitter or gold for YouTube journalists?
article imageGovt asks YouTube to remove journalist-turned-politician’s news channel, cites IT Rules


We take comments from subscribers only!  Subscribe now to post comments! 
Already a subscriber?  Login

You may also like