The Hush Post: Two News18 journalists were brutally attacked by the sand mafia in Punjab’s Jalalabad while reporting on illegal sand mining. The reporters Neeraj Bali, video journalist Sandeep Kumar and Prithpal Singh were brutally assaulted while they were on duty. Another reporter Suraj Bhan was, however, able to escape the attack.
Neeraj after receiving a tip-off about illegal mining going on in the area near Amir Khas village on Sunday reached the site to report about the activity. As they arrived, the duo was surrounded by a group of unknown people who attacked them and damaged their video equipment to ensure that the recording of the sand mafia is not availed later on.
After being attacked, the scribes somehow managed to free themselves and then they continued recording on their mobile phones. Later, they went to a private hospital to tend to their injuries.
After the incident, the injured scribes lodged a complaint with the police. Senior officials including Amarjit Singh Sidhu, DSP Jalalabad reached the spot and took stock of the situation.
A case has been registered under Section 382, 330, 506, 308 and 427 of the Indian Penal Code.
A day later, at the press conference in Chandigarh Capt Amarinder Singh seemingly came to the rescue of the sand mining mafia. He said that legal mining was going on in the area and questioned the media’s presence there. The CM went to the extent of saying that,”You intimated,” referring to the reverse intimidation of the sand mafia by the media who went there — the sand mafia who beat up the journalists. This, a day after he had condemned the attack on the News 18 journalists. He also either side-stepped the question of illegal mining at legal sites or probably, in the melee wasn’t able to hear the question itself and thus the issue remained unaddressed.
While the Jalalabad sand mining may be a legal site but it does not mean that illegal mining cannot take place at legal sand mining sites. Illegal mining at legal mining sites happen when the mining is carried out beyond the allowed limits.