The Tata Group, which is already fighting a perception battle following the public slugfest between the incumbent chairman Ratan Tata and the ousted chairman Cyrus Mistry, is yet again in the news for the wrong reason.
At least three news photographers were injured on Friday at the premises of Bombay House, the headquarters of the Tata Group, after they were beaten up by the Tata security staff.
According to a Tata group spokesperson, some members of the security staff too suffered injuries in the scuffle. Photographers trying to click pictures of Mistry, who arrived there to chair a board meeting of Tata group firm, Indian Hotels Company Ltd (IGHCL).
When photographers saw Mistry, they rushed to click his pictures. In the meantime, the security at the Tata Group who were trying to control the situation were roughed up the photographers. Cameras belonging to lens men of Mid-Day and Hindustan Times were also damaged.
Atul Kamble, a photographer with Mid-Day newspaper, said the incident began immediately after Mistry went inside the building.
“The security staff came outside and started hitting photo journalists. The security staff were chasing us. In my 20 years of journalistic career, this is something I have never seen at the Bombay House premises,” said Kamble.
Raju Shinde, another photo journalist who works with Mumbai Mirror, said he was beaten up mercilessly by the Tata staff. “Suddenly, there was a commotion outside Bombay House,” Shinde said.
Later, the situation was brought under control with the intervention of police from Mata Ramabai Police station. Four security guards and three photographers have been taken for medical check-up.
Debashis Ray, Tata Group spokesperson, said he apologised to the journalists later. "I went and spoke to everyone who was present outside. I apologise to everyone who was present. Three of our security personnel too got hurt and have been taken to hospital. I understand a few photographers have been hurt and taken to hospital as well,” Ray said.
The Mumbai Press Club condemned the attacks. “The Mumbai Press Club does not expect a corporate house like Tatas to indulge in violent practices against media persons, and demands explanation from the corporate authorities who allowed security personnel to take this extreme step,” the Press Club said in a press release.