Amid devastating floods in Bihar, CM Nitish Kumar continuously blocked Republic Media Network's journalists from meeting him and questioning him over the issue. Since Tuesday, the JD(U) chief has tried to intimidate Repubic's reporters and crew. The administration under Nitish Kumar has prevented only Republic's journalists and has been interacting with other media professionals. The turn of events occurred since Republic's Deputy News Editor Sweta Srivastava confronted the Bihar CM about the floods in the state which has led to the 56 deaths. Despite being heckled by fellow reporters and the CM himself she asked him why he did not go to Patna until Tuesday evening. Below are the three instances where the Bihar administration under Nitish Kumar has blatantly blocked the channel from questioning him on the floods, intimidated Republic's reporters and crew, and even manhandled them to stop them from confronting the chief minister.
CM Nitish Kumar on Tuesday evening displayed shocking high-handedness and callousness during a media briefing on the Bihar floods. Shifting the blame on nature and the weather bureau of failing to predict the heavy downpour, he said “Here, in Patna, there have been over 300 millimetres of rainfall and this has further occurred in various other parts of the state.” He added, “...even the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) did not foresee this scenario in the start, they realised it later,” Kumar said.
Furthermore, he brazenly targeted Republic TV when questioned about the shocking visuals that have emerged of the citizens' plight. He deflected from the questions and asked the reporter to calm down. He then tried to shift focus towards matters completely unrelated to the floods by attacking the channel. Read about the incident here.
Following Nitish Kumar's apathetic conduct towards the Bihar floods displayed when Republic Media Network confronted him, the state police machinery blocked the channel's reporters and crew on Wednesday from asking questions. In the shocking turn of events, Republic Bharat's Deputy News Editor Sweta Srivastava and News Editor Amit Chaudhary were blocked from meeting Nitish Kumar by the police. In what appears to be a personal attack against Republic's team, the reporters were gheraoed by the police, making them unable to take a single step from where they are standing. The police blocked the reporters from moving even an inch and were pushed away by the police whenever they tried to move closer to Nitish Kumar.
Less than two hours after blocking Republic Media's reporters from questioning him, the disrespectful attitude was seen to be repeated by Nitish Kumar's government. Republic's Senior Correspondent Piyush Mishra faced ignominious behaviour from Nitish Kumar's administration. Mishra was not only stopped from entering the Gyan Bhawan in Bihar's capital Patna, but he was also manhandled by a senior official from Nitish's government.
An official from the state's Department of Public Relations when confronted about Republic being blocked from interacting with the chief minister, took to manhandling the reporter. The official pushed him away and demanded for the pass. He then told Mishra to ask the District Magistrate and the Superintendent of Police. He then tried to snatch his mike and hold him by his neck.
After realising the incident was captured on live TV, he backed off and even said that Republic would be allowed to enter the Gyan Bhawan. However, soon after Mishra and his cameraman stepped inside the premises, officials in plain clothes manhandled him and took him out of the area. The men in civilian clothes again blocked him from entering the Gyan Bhawan building and then dragged him out of the premises.