Close call

MAY 25 – Last Wednesday, we reached the central office of Unity Life International Limited in Jawalakhel to collect the information on protest programme being held inside its premises. Everyone knows that Unity is charged of involvement in illegal insurance and deposit collection business. Unity’s head office was under the control of the police and its members were gathering around the Unity tower and demonstrating against the government; some were giving speeches while others were chanting slogans in favour of Unity.

Cameraperson Bikash Adhikari and I were discussing about the appropriate visuals for television reporting. The rage against media could be clearly noticed from the speeches and demonstration of the Unity supporters. We were, however, recording without fear. To be on the safe side, we stayed away from the demonstration spot and were taking long distance shots. Sensing trouble, we left the spot soon as we had taken the required visuals. No sooner had we reached Nepal Telecom’s office, we got encircled by dozens of Unity supporters on motorbike wearing Unity t-shirt. I heard a person saying, “Why did you click the pictures?” I replied that we were recording visuals of events happening in a public place and also had come for their own good. I also told them that if we were to air whatever we wished we would not have come to the spot for reporting. Then, they asked us to go to the place where demonstrations were taking place. When we declined to do so, they started pulling us and some tried to snatch away our camera. Some others even tried to seize the tapes blaming us to be fake journalists. When we attempted to show our identity cards, another person snatched at them.

Luckily, we were able to escape when they went away to gather more supporters. We felt a huge sense of relief after meeting some media persons in Jawalakhel Volleyball Training Centre. As we were about to tell them what had just happened to us, Unity supporters again came in large number and misbehaved with us with constant scolding and blaming us of being fake journalists. Though other journalists told them that we were from Kantipur Television, they gave no ear to it and started abusing us physically.

With timely interference of Lalitpur police, the situation never got out of control; we were rescued and given police protection. Unity members were still chanting slogans saying we were fake journalists. They even asked the cops to punish us.

When I felt the situation was going out of control, I called up Bigyan Raj Sharma, Nepal police spokesperson. Sharma ordered his juniors to take the situation under control and three Unity members were arrested. Still, I felt humiliated in front of so many people.

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