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Interview gone wrong: Journalists heckled at Ahmedabad Hospital



Interview gone wrong: Journalists heckled at Ahmedabad Hospital

Incident occurred on Jan 6 when the reporters had gone to interview a medical student who had attempted suicide alleging caste discrimination 

 A scuffle broke out at the Civil Hospital in Ahmedabad on January 6 in which two reporters were allegedly heckled and pushed around by a group of men.

Damayanti Dhar, freelance journalist and another reporter with an Ahmedabad-based newspaper were present at the hospital to interview Dr. M Mariraj, a student of surgery who had attempted suicide alleging caste discrimination by doctors at the hospital when the incident took place.

Dr Mariraj is a third year student of the Masters in Surgery (M.S) course at the BJ Medical College in Ahmedabad. On Friday, he attempted suicide by swallowing sleeping pills following a verbal spat with senior doctors in the operation theatre. Mariraj who hails from Tirunelveli in Tamil Nadu had gained admission at the college under the All-India Scheduled Castes (SC) quota. An FIR was filed in which nine doctors were named and booked under the SC & ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

A short while after Dr.Mariraj’s interview commenced in the E-3 ward of the hospital, a group of men led by one Keval Rathod who claimed to be a High Court lawyer and a Dalit activist entered the room. At one point, according to the reporter when Dr.Mariraj was asked about the claims made by senior doctors that he was oversensitive and overreacted to situations at times, he got visibly upset. At this point, Rathod and others alleged that the reporter had said that the case filed by Dr. Mariraj was false. This led to tension and the reporters were asked to leave the room.

Speaking to Alt News, Damayantee Dhar said, “At one point I asked him (Mariraj) do you think you are overreacting, because this is what your associate professors have said, that you are hypersensitive. Dr. Mariraj thought I asked him if he was exaggerating, and he got agitated. At this point Keval Rathod and others started shouting that I alleged the case that has been filed is bogus. These people became aggressive and Keval started abusing me at this point. I kept repeating I am simply doing my job. Others came into the room. Jyotsna Mali (Dr. Mariraj’s friend and intepreter) and I then came out of the room. These people pushed the other reporter out of the room and shut the door”

Dhar added, “These people then came out of the room and demanded that I show my identity card and that I delete the audio recording of the interview. They pushed me to the wall. The matron, at this point called the security. The constable who was present at the spot intervened but these people were in no mood to listen. Even after we were escorted to the main corridor, we were pulled back into the post-operative ward. I was pushed around and abused. The other reporter’s hand was twisted. The entire incident was recorded by these people from their mobile phones”.

Alt News also spoke to the reporter from the Ahmedabad based daily who concurred with Dhar’s account. “Keval Rathod who was present in the room said that Damayantee had alleged that a false case had been filed by Dr.Mariraj, when she had not said any such thing. Jyotsna (Dr.Mariraj’s friend) tried to mediate but Keval was not backing down. He asked us to get out. We were pushed out of the room. Later, these people stepped out and we were pushed around, not only in the E3 ward but also in the main corridor after we were escorted till there”, he said.

Alt News spoke to Jyotsna Mali, who said that the reporter’s questions were in the nature of provocation, and that she ought to have displayed greater sensitivity while interviewing Dr. Mariraj whose mental condition at that time was delicate. “She was questioning him about his experience and knowledge. Things got heated up because of the way she was questioning him, almost in the manner of interrogation. I left the hospital as I saw things were getting out of hand”

Alt News also spoke to Keval Rathod who downplayed the incident at the hospital. “It was a very minor incident. The reporters asked Dr.Mariraj if he is overreacting, and they suggested that the case filed by him was false as a result of which Dr. Mariraj did not wish to continue the interview. The matter ended there”

Geeta Pathan, PI Shahibaug division Ahmedabad in a conversation with Alt News confirmed that the reporters were indeed heckled at the scene. “Keval Rathod was present at the police station on January 10 where he apologised to Dhar for the misbehaviour of his colleagues at the hospital on January 6. He maintained that there was no intention to hurt the reporter. He has however expressed regret”.

-Courtesy: Alt News

2024 Lok Sabha Elections

Voter turnout of 56.68% recorded till 5pm in 5th phase of Lok Sabha elections

Elections are being held in 49 constituencies across eight states and Union Territories in the fifth phase of Lok Sabha elections 2024.



A voter turnout of 56.68 % was recorded in phase 5 till 5 pm as per the Election Commission’s Voter Turnout App, with the highest voting percentage in West Bengal (73 %) and the lowest in Maharashtra (48.66 %). Lok Sabha elections are taking place in 49 constituencies across 8 states and Union Territories in the 5th phase of Lok Sabha elections 2024.

Voter turnout of 56.68% was recorded till 5pm. The breakup is as follows: J&K: 54.21%, Bihar: 52.35%, Ladakh: 67.15%, Jharkhand: 61.90%, Maharashtra: 48.66%, UP: 55.80%, Odisha: 60.55% and West Bengal: 73%. The fate of 4 Union ministers, including Rajnath Singh and Smriti Irani, as well as Congress leader Rahul Gandhi will be decided in the ongoing Lok Sabha election. Former UP CM Mayawati, BJP’s Rae Bareli candidate Dinesh Pratep Singh, Smriti Irani were among the early voters today who cast their vote in the morning.

 The Lucknow East Lok Sabha seat will also hold a bypoll on the same day. The Lok Sabha seats which are participating in this phase include Rae Bareli, Mohanlalganj, Jalaun (SC), Amethi, Hamirpur, Jhansi, Banda, Kaushambi (SC), Fatehpur, Faizabad, Barabanki (SC), Gonda  and Kaisarganj. The candidates also include and minister of state of consumer affairs Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti (Fatehpur) and minister of state for housing and urban affairs Kaushal Kishor (Mohanlalganj). Rahul Gandhi is contesting from Rae Bareli Lok Sabha seat which was previously held by his mother and former Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

 The total number of voters expected to cast their vote in this phase is over 2.68 crore voters, with 144 candidates looking for their support. 11 BJP incumbent Lok Sabha MPs are contesting in this phase, while nominating new candidates in Kaisarganj and Barabanki (SC) Lok Sabha seats.

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India News

Minor crashes Porsche killing two in Pune, granted bail in 15 hours, asked to write essay



Tragedy struck in Kalyani Nagar, Pune during the early hours of Sunday when a speeding Porsche collided with a two-wheeler, resulting in the immediate deaths of two motorcyclists. Police officials have confirmed that the luxury car involved in the horrific accident was being driven by a juvenile. 

The juvenile court has granted bail to the 17-year-old after 15 hours with specific conditions. The bail terms included working with Yerawada traffic police for 15 days, writing an essay on the accident, seeking treatment from a doctor for alcohol cessation, and undergoing psychiatric counselling with a report submission.

The victims, a man and a woman, died on the spot after the speeding Porsche Taycan crashed into them from behind. Soon after the accident, the police arrived at the spot and booked the minor for rash and negligent driving, endangering life, and causing harm under IPC Sections 304A, 279, 337, 338, 427, and relevant sections of the Maharashtra Motor Vehicle Act at Pune City’s Yerwada Police Station.

The victims have been identified as Anis Avlia (24), and Ashwini Kosta (24). Both the victims hailed from Madhya Pradesh and were employed in Pune as engineers. Anis Avlia, a graduate in computer science, was employed at a multinational company situated in Kalyani Nagar, while Ashwini had been working alongside him at the same company until recently, before opting for a break.

Meanwhile, concerned authorities said that they have dispatched the minor’s blood samples for analysis to determine potential alcohol influence, with the results pending at the time of press. Reportedly, the accused is the son of renowned builder and Brahma Realty and Infrastructure owner, Vishal Agarwal. The Porsche involved in the accident was an unregistered vehicle.

It is reported that when the Pune police produced the minor in front of the magistrate, they requested the court to treat him as an adult. Nonetheless, the request was rejected and the court granted bail under the Juvenile Justice Act, imposing a few conditions along with the bail.

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India News

Messages threatening Arvind Kejriwal appear on walls of Delhi metro station, inside trains, AAP blames BJP

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLAs has a letter sent to the Election Commission of India (ECI) on Monday and demanded prompt and severe action in response to graffiti that had appeared on the Rajiv Chowk and Patel Nagar stations of the Delhi Metro.



Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) supremo and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal recieved threating messages today, May 20, which were witten on a poster. These posters were found at two metro stations of Delhi and inside the metro coaches.

Images of the statements appeared on social media, with at least two of them appearing on signboards carrying the names of the Patel Nagar and Rajiv Chowk metro stations, and several of them sticked on the walls of metro stations. However, it is yet to confirm that who did this.

According to a senior police officer, the incident has been brought to their attention and an inquiry has been started.

Following the appearance of threatening graffiti within the metro stations of Rajiv Chowk and Patel Nagar in the nation’s capital, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP were preparing an attack on Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

AAP MP Sanjay Singh claimed claimed that the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) was the hub of the purported plot to target Arvind Kejriwal.

The BJP has been in a panic since Arvind Kejriwal’s release from jail. Right now, the BJP is preparing to strike Arvind Kejriwal with deadly intent. The prime minister’s office is the direct source of this plot. At the Metro stations in Rajiv Chowk and Patel Nagar, an attack threat against Kejriwal ji has been inscribed, according to Sanjay Singh’s statement today.

There have also reportedly been threatening messages scrawled inside metro trains.

AAP leader Atishi said the BJP is afraid of losing the next Lok Sabha elections in Delhi.  She claimed Arvind Kejriwal was targeted by the BJP through Swati Maliwal.

Meanwhile, the MLAs of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has a letter sent to the Election Commission of India (ECI) on Monday and demanded prompt and severe action in response to graffiti that had appeared on the Rajiv Chowk and Patel Nagar stations of the Delhi Metro.

Social media users have also posted pictures of the graffiti. Security guards are stationed 24/7 and these stations are covered by CCTV. Why don’t the cops take any action? The Cyber Cell is where? This indicates that the BJP is behind this, she claimed.

In light of the Lok Sabha elections, Kejriwal was granted interim relief by the Supreme Court earlier this month. On March 21, Kejriwal was taken into custody in relation to his purported involvement in the Delhi excise policy case.

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