On this day in 1993 (21 July),13 youth Indian National Congress had been killed in police firing during a Writers Building,the offices of the Bengal government seize led by Mamata Banarjee,then the state Youth Congress president.Due to major differences with senior leaders like Soumen Mitra (who later joined her party),she founded All India Trinamool Congress (TMC) after breaking away from the Congress in 1997 and became a part of right wing BJP led National Democratic Alliance (NDA). In 2009 general election, Mamata formed a formidable alliance with the Congress (her parent political party) to teach Marxist a lesson.The Trinamul Congress organizes this annual event on July 21 at Esplanade to commemorate the killing of 13 Youth.The Trinamul Congress chief and the chief minister of Bengal had announced after her assembly election triumph that July 21, martyrs’ day, would also be “celebrated as Victory Day”.Hundreds and thousands of TMC supporters joined the rally to pay tribute to those who were killed in the firing.
In Bengal it seems that nothing has changed. Recently, journalists of Star Ananda and Ananda Bazar Patrika the clearly the market leaders in news, were severely beaten by unruly mob. Most of them were TMC supporters. According to media reports,a young Television journalist was chased, thrown to the ground and thrashed by party sympathizers when he went to Jadavpur in South Calcutta to cover a story . Later, the chief minister of Bengal described it as staged incident. During the 34 years of Left Front rule in Bengal, there were also several attacks on journalists.Scribes were beaten up at Singur and Nandigram when they went there to cover anti forceful land acquisition movement.
In Bengal, media is divided into rival camps. Local media in Bengal particularly those who are not market leaders in news or new entrants in the market try to keep ‘didi’ (Mamata Banarjee) in good humor.Even some senior journalist behave like party spokes person.
According to International News Safety Institute,while covering demonstrations or civil disorder, please remember:
Don’t go alone. Get someone to watch your back if you’re shooting pictures.
As soon as you arrive, spot escape routes and look for landmarks like a tall building or lamppost. It’s easy to get disoriented in a crowd.
Stay on the edge and do not get caught between police and protestors.
Crowds have a life of their own. Stay aware of the prevailing mood.
Alert your editors if the scene turns angry.
Stay away from aggressive people. They may provoke a violent response.
If planning to move, seek advice from people who have just come from the direction you’re heading.
Television crews should travel as light as possible. If experiencing aggression, leave the tripod behind so that you can run fast.
Pic Courtesy: Star Ananda