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Senior Malayalam journalist Sajeev Gopalan hospitalised after suspected assault by Kerala Police

Senior Malayalam journalist Sajeev Gopalan was hospitalised after being allegedly assaulted by cops near Varkala town in Kerala on Sunday.

Gopalan, who works for Malayalam newspaper Kalakaumudi, was working on a story about an attack on two girls in the Idava Panchayat in Thiruvanthapuram, The Indian Express reported. Gopalan had alleged police interference in the case. According to media reports, his assailants also mentioned the case.

According to Times Now, the Kerala Police had manhandled Gopalan and hit him on his head at around 10.30 pm outside his house. When the incident took place, his wife and daughter were also present, the report said.

Reportedly, the officer contacted the local sub-inspector via wireless later, who came in with more men to join in the assault. The local press club has reportedly filed a complaint with the authorities, including the director general of police.

This comes just days after two Uttar Pradesh journalists were injured in a police lathi charge along with several students at the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) in Varanasi where violence erupted after protests against an eve-teasing incident on the campus.

Recently, Bengaluru journalist Gauri Lankesh's murder near her residence also has highlighted the attacks against the media fraternity. Lankesh, who was the editor of the anti-establishment newspaper Lankesh Patrike,  was shot dead by three unidentified assailants who shot three bullets at her.

Journalists in Kerala have been attacked several times in the past while reporting on sensitive issues.

On 30 July 2017, a sub-inspector named PM Vinod was suspended after he reportedly led an assault against journalists in Kozhikode. A report from The Hoot said that the reason may have been the unwillingness of journalists to correct details in a report that the police found to be misleading.

Not long before that, on July 19, some lawyers physically assaulted media personnel outside the Kerala High Court as they were angry at the media coverage of a sexual molestation case.

In 2016, BJP workers allegedly attacked a group of media persons in Palakkad. The workers, objecting to the filming of arrested BJP workers, had allegedly manhandled camera persons and reporters.

Overall, India’s record for attacks against journalists is also alarming.

According to an India Spend report, National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data shows that 142 attacks against journalists for “grievous hurt” were registered all over the country since 2015.

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Updated Date: Sep 25, 2017 20:03:23 IST