Chennai-based journalist Sandhya Ravishankar alleges stalking, intimidation after reports on sand mining mafia
A group of journalists and civil society activists has written to the Chennai Commissioner of Police expressing concern over threats to Sandhya Ravishankar.
Chennai-based journalist Sandhya Ravishankar has alleged that multiple attempts to stalk and intimidate her have been made in the recent past after she wrote a series of reports on the sand mafia in Tamil Nadu.
Ravishankar has alleged that Savukku, an online portal, recently published a blog, which includes CCTV visuals of her meeting a source at a coffee shop. In a series of tweets, she said that the owners of the cafe said that they do not download CCTV footage unless the police ask them for it. "It is therefore evident that ‘Savukku’ has received the CCTV footage from the police. Who that police personnel is and why he/she handed over the footage to ‘Savukku’ so that they may publish the same on their site, remains a mystery."
A group of journalists and civil society activists has written a letter to AK Viswanathan, Chennai Commissioner of Police, alleging that complaints made in this regard to the Chennai Police "have not met with the attention they deserve". They have sought an administrative inquiry into the publication of the CCTV footage and demanded that measures be taken to protect her privacy.
Ravishankar has written for numerous media outlets, including Firstpost. She has claimed that she has faced intimidation for her reports on sand mining in The Wire. The reports highlighted violations of beach sand mining regulations which took place during both the tenures of J Jayalalithaa and M Karunanidhi.
On an earlier occasion, she had complained to the Press Council alleging that she has been harassed by the supporters of S Vaikundarajan, one of the largest beach sand miner in the country.
Ravishankar has faced abuse and intimidation on several occasions earlier as well. In January 2017, she had filed a complaint with the Chennai Commissioner of Police alleging that associates of a powerful beach sand mining company divulged her mobile number on social media, after which she received rape threats.
Of late, there have been numerous instances of journalists facing intimidation in Tamil Nadu. This article highlights how scribes were manhandled and detained by the police when they were covering the protests against the Salem-Chennai eight-lane highway project in Tiruvannamalai. The article also points out that during Jayalalithaa's tenure, over 200 defamation cases were filed by the government, leading the media to be circumspect while criticising the administration.
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