INDIA: Did the Minister’s Wife Incite Recent Media Attacks?

This past weekend, a group of reporters at the Mathura das Mathus hospital in Jodhpur found themselves under attack by a group of approximately 25 people. The mob physically assaulted journalists and damaged their equipment. Two reporters received mild injuries and an entire news channel van was damaged.

Instigators of the attack were found to be supporters of Mahipal Maderna. The Rajasthan minister has been accused in the press of being involved in the kidnapping and possible murder of Bhanwari Devi, a Dalit nurse at a sub-center in Jaliwada village who has been missing since September 1st. Further charges by Devi’s husband are fueling accusations.

Maderna’s wife, Leela, has been quick to stand up for her husband. In response to the reports, she says, “Media and TV have fully destroyed us. You write whatever you want. This TV and media should be closed down.”

Although Mrs. Maderna’s statements seem understandable enough, members of the Jaipur Press Club want to hold her accountable for the recent attacks. “Leela Maderna had recently made some comments against the media, inciting her supporters. We demand action from the government against those responsible for the attack,” declared press club president LL Sharma.

Maderna supporters are also said to have recently ransacked an under-construction office for news channel ETV, one of the largest television networks in India.  Those responsible reportedly threw rocks at the building and tried to break down the doors.


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