India - Protesters attack Hyderabad newspaper after article about castes



    MONTREAL, June 2 /CNW Telbec/ - Reporters Without Borders condemns the
physical attacks that members of the Madiga Reservation Porata Samithi (MRPS),
an organisation that defends a lower caste, staged on the headquarters of the
Telugu-language daily Andhra Jyothi and its employees on the evening of 26 May
in Hyderabad, the capital of the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, in protest
against an article accusing certain caste organisations of corruption.
    Shouting "Long live the MRPS," around 50 people threw stones at the
newspaper's offices, located in the east of the city, then forced their way
inside, where they spilled petrol from cans and started fires in several
places. Some employees came close to being set on fire after been splashed
with petrol. The fires were put out and the staff finally got the assailants
to withdraw after about 10 minutes. The attack occurred during a brief absence
by police who had been sent to protect the newspaper after telephone threats
were received in the morning.
    Simultaneous protests were also staged in the nearby towns of Vizag,
Warangal and Sangareddy, where many copies of the newspaper were burned. MRPS
president Manda Krishna Madiga, who filed a complaint against the newspaper,
told a rally in the centre of Hyderabad: "Andhra Jyothi is a newspaper run by
the upper castes. The article was a deliberate attempt to create conflicts
within the Dalits (lower caste 'untouchables')."
    Andhra Pradesh chief minister Rajasekhara Reddy condemned the incident
but called on journalists to exercise more restraint and rejected the
corruption charges made against himself.

    Don't wait to be deprived of information to stand up and fight for it.




For further information:

For further information: Katherine Borlongan, Secretary General,
Reporters Without Borders Canada, (514) 521-4111, rsfcanada@rsf.org;
www.rsfcanada.org

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