Demonstrators attack media teams in Mumbai, India
Information obtained from sources at the Indian Journalists' Union (IJU), an IFJ affiliate, and the Brihan-Mumbai (Greater-Mumbai) Union of Journalists (BUJ) indicates that the journalists were targeted by a crowd that had assembled at an open field in the south of the city to protest against the killing of members of the religious minority in recent communal violence in the north-eastern Indian state of Assam and the Republic of Myanmar.
Three outdoor broadcasting (OB) vans belonging to well-known news channels were also set ablaze in the violence, which broke out after speakers at the protest meeting reportedly denounced the media for not being attentive to the suffering inflicted on members of the religious minority.
Participants at the demonstration reportedly turned violent without any apparent provocation. Eyewitnesses say that they were seen asking for the identity of the media personnel present at the spot covering the demonstration, before attacking them. The technicians staffing the OB van were asked to step out and flee if they did not want to get burnt along with the vehicle.
The demonstration was organised by a Mumbai-based cultural organization, the Raza Academy and a newly floated political platform, the Awami Vikas Party.
The photojournalists who were seriously injured have been identified as Vivek Bendre of The Hindu, Prashant Sawant of the Sakal Times and Atul Kamble of Midday.
"We express our solidarity with the injured journalists, and wish them a quick recovery", said IFJ Asia-Pacific. "We also call on the authorities in Mumbai city to swiftly identify and act against those responsible for fomenting and carrying out the violent attacks".
"We extend our support to journalists and other media staff in India as they organise a sequence of protests to demand justice for this wholly reprehensible act of violence".