Reporters attacked

A TV crew was allegedly attacked on the premises of a factory that produces H-acid

Published: Monday 15 September 1997

a three-member team of Living On the Edge , the Golden Panda award winning weekly environmental programme the cable television channel Star tv , alleged they were assaulted and detained at a factory at Vapi, Gujarat, for three hours on July 17. They alleged that their equipment was damaged and their assailants threatened to pour acid on their faces. The team was freed after being detained for three hours.

According to Monika Dhingra, reporter at Miditech tv (the makers of the programme), the incident took place on the premises of Ms Golden Colourchem, Phase IV, Industrial Estate of the Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation, Vapi. The team entered the premises, seeking the manager of the unit, when an unidentified man came rushing at them and snatched their camera, breaking the battery light and the microphone, she said.

"He threatened to pour acid on the faces of the correspondent and the cameraman. For 15 minutes the mad tussle continued and none of the gathered staff tried to control him," goes the Miditech tv statement. We were detained for three hours inside the premises."
The team's nightmare ended when the team spoke with Colourchem's lawyer in Mumbai over the phone, who attempted to soothe ruffled feathers. The television crew did not register a complaint with the local police as they were on a tight schedule and had to leave Vapi that very day.

A Down To Earth reporter had visited the said premises while collecting facts and information for the cover story "The Blind Court -- And quiet flows the poison" (April 30, 1996). Readers may recall that this unit is owned by O P Aggarwal of Mumbai, the owner of the h -acid producing factories of Bichhri. While the units at Bichhri have been closed down following a popular protest, the same product is produced at Vapi.

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