Journalist safety has gone for a toss once again. Mafias and criminals are becoming one of the biggest threats to the safety of journalists across India.
Raghvendra Dubey, a journalist covering police raid at White House bar – near SK Stone area at Mira – Bhayender road was found murdered. Two other journalists were brutally attacked.
The night before, Dubey, who was the owner and journalist of local weekly newspaper Khushboo Ujala, was found dead, two other journalists — Santosh Mishra (44) and Shashi Sharma (49) — were attacked outside White House bar at Mira Road.
The incident took place on the midnight of July 16. The deceased Raghvendra Dubey , Editor in Chief, Khushbu Ujala along with 2 journalists; Santosh Mishra from Mumbai Headlines and Shashi Sharma from Dabang Duniya were covering a police raid on illegal
activities in the bar. 14 female dancers were rescued; out of which four were minors. The journalists were attacked by the bar owner and its staffers, for taking photographs. The accused, Ganesh Kamath, a bar owner hit one of the journalists with liquor bottle. Around 30 staffers joined him in the attack. Just few hours after the incident, Raghvendra was found fatally injured.
According to sources, three police officers were present when journalists were beaten. Sharma and Mishra managed to escape and got themselves admitted at hospital whereas Dubey was taken to Mira Road’s Beverly Park police station, instead of a hospital. It is believed that police were under the pressure of a mob of bar owners – around 100 of them, who were waiting for Raghvendra Dubey at the police station. Raghvendra was at the police station till 4.00 am.
After leaving from there, he had no means to return, because the mob outside, reportedly emptied petrol from Raghvendra’s motorcycle. Raghvendra boarded a rickshaw, but was found in pool of blood just few metres away from the bar. When police received the information, he was rushed to hospital, but was declared dead on arrival. Until this point, it was believed that only Ganesh Kamath and his staffers were involved behind it.
Dubey was at the police station from 2 am till around 5 am and was attacked after he left. He was found near S K Stone on the Mira-Bhayander Road. He was rushed to a hospital in Kandivali but was declared dead before admission. We have arrested six persons, including the bar owner. The precise motive is still unclear,” said Rajesh Pradhan, SP, Thane Rural.
Two days after the incident, the case took a twist when two more accused —owner of Mira Road’s Lovebird bar Mahesh Shetty and manager Bhavesh Monani were arrested. An argument was sparked between Shetty and Dubey at the police station. When Dubey left the police station, Shetty and his aides – Avinash Mishra and Samadhan Mali followed Raghvendra and reportedly killed him. Avinash Mishra and Samadhan Mali; fled after the incident, were arrested from Kandivali on the night of July 18.
According to Mira Road police, “A case has been registered under Section 300( murder) and Section 307( Attempt to murder).Six accused have been arrested.”
It is believed that CCTV cameras at the crime site and even at the police station were not functioning.
Mishra and Sharma are being treated at Bhakti Vedant hospital and Indira hospital respectively.
Santosh Mishra said “Three police officers were present, but none of them helped. “We were beaten brutally by around 30 men. I kept pleading to the police officers who were present there, but they didn’t rescue us. I just have one appeal: the police should investigate the matter and justice should be meted to us.”
Shashi Sharma also expressed his grief over the incident. He has demanded suspension of the guilty police officers.
The deceased’s wife demanded death sentence for the culprits. She has three children to look after. She said: “We don’t trust the police investigation anymore, and CBI probe should be launched into the matter.” Asking for a CBI probe, she also urged CM Devendra Fadnavis to grant compensation to them; and to provide employment to her, so that she can make ends meet.
Rajkumar Mishra, District Congress General Secretary, expressed grief over the incident. “Deadly attacks on journalists – this is serious and a shameful issue. The fourth pillar of democracy is not safe. Police’s careless behavior regarding such fatal attacks is highly alarming. Journalists’ demand for strict regulations for their safety is justified; the law has to be implemented soon”, he added.
Journalists from various publications strongly reacted to the incident at Mira Road’s Beverly Park police station. The police have assured that they will strive to prevent such attacks in the future. On July 21, journalists across Thane, Mira road, Vasai and Virar protested. The police have assured them that a committee will be set up to prevent attacks on journalists in future.
The Mira road police have assured us that White House bar will be demolished soon.” said a journalist(not willing to reveal name).