New York-based photographer beaten up by Trinamool activists

May 7th, 2009 - 1:16 am ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Kolkata, May 6 (IANS) A New York-based freelance photographer says he was beaten up and his camera and lenses were damaged by Trinamool Congress activists in West Bengal’s trouble-torn Nandigram after he photographed them.
Lensman Jay Mandal, who contributes to leading global newspapers and publications like the Washington Post, says he has suffered injuries, including on his right shoulder and his knees.

“They damaged my camera and lenses. I can’t move around as I have excruciating pain all over my body,” Mandal told IANS Wednesday.

Mandal had Monday gone to Nandigram along with a convoy of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader S.S. Ahluwalia, who was campaigning for his party’s candidate there.

“I suddenly saw a group of motorbike riders, each wearing a headband displaying the Trinamool election symbol. They were moving in a single file and passed the dais, when I took their pictures. They came back within three-five minutes and attacked Ahluwalia who was speaking then,” he said.

As Mandal took a photograph of the attackers, the flash alerted three youths on the dais and one of them shoved him hard. “I fell into a ditch, hurt myself and my camera and lenses also got damaged,” he said.

Mandal managed to pick up the camera and and limped to a nearby house. “However, the youths soon came back and roughly aked me to hand over the chip. As I refused, they started beating me up mercilessly. I understood it was futile resisting and handed over the chip to them.

“Another round of thrashing followed. They kicked me, slapped me and then disappeared. The BJP leaders and myself were kept confined. Finally, the police came after Ahluwalia complained and escorted us out of Nandigram,” Mandal said.

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