Women reporters faced attacks by violent mobs on their way to cover a historic day at the famed Sabarimala Temple, which at 5 pm on Wednesday will open its doors to women of all ages after centuries. Along with Republic TV's South Bureau Chief Pooja Prasanna, who was surrounded and attacked by a 100-strong mob, her car vandalised and equipment stolen, before the attack continued despite her being in a police van, another woman reporter, Saritha S Balan of News Minute was also attacked at Pamba.
Speaking to Republic TV, Saritha said:
"I came to one of the base camps of Sabarimala and I was covering protest all over there. After that I moved to the...action committee. They call it Karnasamidhi. When I moved there, some people started shouted that media isn't allowed, and you should go back. Then I Left the place. But soon after I heard an announcement through a loud speaker that the aim of the Karnasamidhi is not to block the media person. Then I thought that now we won't be blocked and we are safe to cover the protest. Then I boarded a bus from Nilakkal to Pamba, because these are the base camp of Sabarimala.
In the News Minute article, it is revealed that the mob attacked Saritha and called her by a number of derogatory names.
"As the police tried to give a protective ring to Saritha to get her out of the bus, the mob physically attacked her, and one of them in fact kicked her on her spine. The mob used the worst kind of verbal abuses against her as well. She was kicked from behind as angry devotees took her photograph, called her derogatory names and chanted slogans in the name of Ayyappa. A woman also tried to throw a water bottle at Saritha," a part of the article read.
A number of media persons were attacked by violent mobs on their way to cover a historic day at the famed Sabarimala Temple. Prior to Saritha, Republic TV's South India bureau chief Pooja Prasanna also faced a similar situation.
Visuals of the attack showed the mob surrounding the car, shoving their faces into every window and the windshield, shouting loudly, making intimidatory gestures, and then, slamming the car from all sides.