Two persons have been arrested in connection with the assault

Darjeeling: The New Jalpaiguri (NJP) police have arrested two parking lot attendants Mithun Das and Pratul Dey following an alleged attack on a group of journalists from local news portal Khabar Samay on Wednesday.

A few weeks ago, a Khabar Samay team had exposed how miscreants at New Jalpaiguri railway station in north Bengal were collecting illegal parking fees, following which there had been a crackdown on all such collections. While the team had gone to NJP to highlight and verify the impact of their reporting on Wednesday they were first confronted by two individuals allegedly connected to Trinamool Congress (TMC), who along with a group of 25-30 others later assaulted the team.

A copy of the FIR filed by ‘Khabar Samay’ journalist Subham Agarwal

Journalist Subham Agarwal, who was among those assaulted, said, “We had initiated a drive on September 9, 2019, against unsolicited and illegal parking fees charged at New Jalpaiguri railway station, in furtherance of which we had visited the premises of the railway station time and often.”

In this context, they had met with the divisional railway manager (DRM) who had taken steps to stop these illegal parking fees.

“Yesterday, when our team including a video-journalist, a reporter and the driver of our vehicle were there to take coverage of the positive results of such drive, we were stopped by two men, who started questioning on our purpose of initiating such drive. Further, a lot of men, nearly about 20-25 people, joined in and started abusing me and one of our female journalist, who was present there at the spot with the team,” said Agarwal.

Recounting the horror they had to face, he added, “In no time they started hitting us [me] with fists and blows, and one of them hit me with an iron rod at the back, and since we were less in number we stood in a helpless situation and badly injured, wherein I fell unconscious. I sustained injuries on my upper lip, fingers and there are internal injuries as well.”

The woman journalist was verbally abused, and the miscreants tried to provoke the driver, but in vain. In addition to this, the miscreants stole over Rs 6,000 from Agarwal as he lay unconscious.

Sources have informed that when NJP station master tried to talk with the miscreants about unaccounted fees collection, they had held him by the collar.

On the intervening night of Wednesday and Thursday, NJP police arrested two individuals in connection with the attack. However, the alleged masterminds who are contractors at NJP and are allegedly connected to the ruling Trinamool Congress are yet to be apprehended, said reports.

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