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Journalists condemn attack on Goa press photographers

Friday May 27, 2011 12:01:43 PM, IANS

Panaji: Police remained mute spectators when press photographers were manhandled while taking pictures of the violence in Goa in which two tribal youths were charred to death, journalist bodies here alleged Friday.

In an official statement issued here, the Photo Journalists Association of Goa (PJAG) has condemned Wednesday's assault on press photographers Sagun Gawde and Sameer Bhat, both employed with local media outfits, in the presence of police personnel.

"The incident happened in full police glare when journalists were trying to shoot and record Adarsh factory at Balli being set on fire by an irate mob where two UTAA (United Tribals Alliance Association) agitators Mangesh Gaonkar and Deelip Velip were burnt alive in the fire," said Rajtilak Naik, spokesperson for the PJAG.

The Goa Union of Journalists (GUJ), the largest body of journalists in Goa, with over 200 members, said police's inaction against the attackers proves they were "sheltering criminals who are suppressing freedom of media".

"While Gawde was manhandled, Bhat was restrained from shooting the sequence in which a mob was setting fire to the factory. The incident was very important considering two people were burnt in the fire," said Pandurang Gaonkar, GUJ president.

Two charred bodies were discovered and several tribals, including a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator, were injured after unknown miscreants unleased violence on thousands of protesting tribals Wednesday in Balli village near here.

The tribals were agitating for implementation of the Forest Tribal Act and demanding reservations in government jobs Wednesday.

The agitation ended Wednesday afternoon after state Minister for Tribal Affairs Filipe Neri Rodrigues met the agitators and assured them that their demands "would be treated sympathetically" by the Goa government.




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