Journos risk lives to keep nation updated on Mumbai’s terror attack

November 28th, 2008 - 4:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, Nov 28 (IANS) It would probably go down as one of the more enduring images of the climatic terror drama in Mumbai - the image of a young woman journalist, crouching on the ground, clutching her microphone and giving live an account of the Indian special forces launching their final assault on armed militants inside the Taj Mahal Hotel.Taking considerable risk to her life, this reporter is just one of the scores of others including camera persons who have literally camped outside the two five-star hotels - the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel and Oberoi-Trident - and the Nariman House reporting the latest updates of the terror attack for the last more than 40 hours.

A reporter with TV 9 who has been covering the entire event gave an example of the challenges that they have had to face and are still enduring to keep the nation informed.

“A grenade, which was thrown from the Taj hotel, fell near the Star news team who had parked themselves near the site reporting the incident. Fortunately, it did not explode but it definitely left the reporters and the cameramen nearby shivering in fear,” Raju Parulekar, the reporter with TV 9, told IANS.

With gun shots ringing in the air and a few rounds of firing at the gathered media outside the Taj hotel, media persons had to crouch and lie flat while reporting the incident live to their news channels.

D. Jathar, bureau chief of the Week magazine said: “I was on my way back home when I heard about the shootings Wednesday night. I immediately turned around and came back and since then haven’t gone home. It’s been 40 hours and I, like many others, am at work reporting the whole incident”.

In what may be called the most brazen terror attack ever in India’s commercial capital, 125 people have been killed and 327 injured since Wednesday night even as commandos continue to fight terrorists and rescue hostages.

Since the adjoining hotel areas have been cordoned off and the surrounding markets mostly shut, the reporters reporting the incident have been having a hard time finding anything to eat and drink.

“Since we don’t have much of a choice given the situation here, we send one person to look for food and whatever he gets - be it biscuit packets or vada pav - we eat and store for the future.

“On earlier occasions, the Mumbaikars used to come out and provide food, but this time because of the heavy security cover, even that has not been possible,” Chetan Kashikeer, a cameraman with a TV news channel told IANS.

Giving a vivid account of the incident which has attracted international attention, a journalist who did not want to be named said: “There are more than 150 journalists, including international media, who have been camping outside the terror attacked sites since Wednesday night. We have covered bomb blasts before but this is for the first time that the media has come face to face with a hostage drama like this that is still raging on”.

“Of course, it is dangerous but we are doing our work. Also for the first time the media is playing a responsible role. The Army has been telling us not to reveal important leads and we are cooperating with them but at the same time we are informing the audience about what is happening,” he added.

Lauding the efforts of the media, Southern Army Commander Lt. General N. Thamburaj Friday said: “The media’s role in the whole incident is commendable in updating the nation about all the latest happenings. The nation expects to be informed”.

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