LDF protest against attack on scribes

The issue was taken up by EP Jayarajan (CPI-M) as an adjournment motion during zero hour.

Thiruvananthapuram: CPI-M led LDF Opposition in Kerala on Friday staged a walkout in the Assembly protesting government`s refusal to treat seriously the attack on mediapersons by some policemen and a group of persons here.

The issue was taken up by EP Jayarajan (CPI-M) as an adjournment motion during zero hour.

Replying to the notice for the motion, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said two policemen who were involved in the incident were suspended yesterday itself and two cases had been registered against persons who attacked journalists at
the LMS Compound.

Chandy also assured the House that government would not be a party to any action that would affect the freedom of press and obstruct journalists to work freely in the state.

Stringent action would be taken against those who try to impede freedom of the media, Chandy said.

Attack on mediapersons was a fallout of the expose by Asianet Television that a Medical College run by the Church of South India at Karakonam near here had collected huge capitation fee for MBBS courses, Jayarajan said and blamed
government`s policy towards self-financing professional Institutions.

Speaker G Karthikeyan disallowed the motion after the Chief Minister`s reply.

Two television reporters and a cameraperson were injured in the attack by the group who came out from the LMS compound, where the diocesan office of CSI is located, Jayarajan said.

Sarath Krishnan and Ayyappan of Asianet and Marshal Sebastian of India Vision were beaten up and cameras with footage of the incident forcibly taken away and the three were now in hospital, he said.

Journalists were attacked by goondas of the medical college management and police, Jayarajan alleged.

Before staging the walkout, Opposition leader VS Achuthanandan said government was not serious in dealing with the case connected with attack on journalists.

Two days ago Asianet had aired a sting operation which alleged that church officials had demanded a hefty amount as capitation fee for admission in the management quota in Dr Somerwell Medical college run by CSI`s South Kerala Diocese.

Since then student outfits affiliated to different parties have been organising demonstrations before the college and the church headquarters.The media crew who were attacked had gone there to shoot the demonstration.

Yesterday, LDF had staged a walkout in the Assembly, protesting government`s `reluctance` to take action on collection of capitation fee by the College.


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