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Kerala erupts as Mangalore police detains media personnel

While two people were dead, four others were seriously hurt and are in the hospital

Friday December 20, 2019 11:49 AM, IANS

Kerala Media in Mangalore

Thiruvananthapuram: Cutting across political affiliations, Kerala top leaders on Friday raised strong objections on the action taken by Mangalore police after several media personnel belonging to various Malayalam TV channels were taken into custody and following state government's intervention, the police agreed to release and bring them back to the Kerala border.

According to reports, various media personnel reporting from a Mangalore hospital, where the autopsy of the two people who were shot dead on Thursday by the police was conducted, were asked by the Mangalore top police officials on Friday morning not to report from there and later taken into custody.

Soon after the media personnel were taken into custody, the office of Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan got in touch with the officials in Karnataka.

Kerala police chief Loknath Behra told the media here that as soon as he heard about what happened in Mangalore, he spoke to his counterpart in Karnataka.

"I have spoken and I said the media personnel were only doing their job. I was told that all those who have been taken into custody would be released and will be allowed to return. I am unable to say if they will be allowed to report , as its those officials who have to take the decision," said Behra.

A media personnel who first managed to escape from the police told reporters that they barely managed to escape from the hospital compound and drove back to the Kerala border.

"We are now standing in Kerala, and the hospital where the autopsy is taking place is about eight kms from our border. A good number of our media colleagues are in the custody of the Mangalore police. They do not want the media to report," said a media personnel who managed to escape.

State Industries Minister E.P.Jayarajan raised strong objections on the reported statement of Karnataka Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai who alleged that it was the people who came from Kerala had created ruckus in Mangalore.

"This was a highly irresponsible statement that has come. We strongly condemn the police action taken against our media personnel who were doing their job. All efforts are going on to see that they are released", said Jayarajan.

Senior Congress leader and Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala condemned the action of the Mangalore police.

"The media was doing its job and world over, the media reports like this. What the Mangalore police did is to gag the media and this is not acceptable in democracy," said Chennithala.

Hearing about the custody of the media personnel from Kerala, angry journalists here took out a protest march to the General Post office here.

It was yesterday that the police opened fire against protesters who were protesting against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019.

While two people were dead, four others were seriously hurt and are in the hospital.

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