MUZAFFARABAD: A Mirpur-based journalist was beaten by a violent group of youngsters, related to a local PML-N leader, during an attack on the office of his Urdu daily on Friday, police and his colleagues said.
According to witnesses, the attackers entered the office of Daily Chingari located on the first floor of a plaza in Shaheed Chowk, Mirpur, at about 11am and started beating its editor, Shahid Mahmood Mirza.
The attackers, said to be furious at a column in the paper which they said carried baseless allegations about their elders, ransacked the office and whisked Mr Mirza off to the main thoroughfare, downstairs, where they sprinkled used Mobil oil on him.
However, the people present in the area intervened and rescued the victim.
The attackers fled from the scene, before other journalists arrived there.
The injured journo was admitted to a local hospital.
“The accused had been watching my movements for some time... Today one of them first checked my availability and later around 20 of them entered my office and started thrashing me in the presence of two guests. They also tried to set me ablaze after pouring Mobil oil on me, but people present there rescued me,” Mr Mirza told Dawn from the hospital bed.
An official in the Thothal police station told Dawn by telephone that they had booked Dr Amin Chaudhry, his son Wasif Amin and over a dozen unknown persons, on the basis of an FIR, for assaulting the journalist and ransacking his office.
Dr Amin, it may be mentioned here, is a political activist, currently affiliated with the PML-N. He had also held the office of chairman Mirpur Development Authority during the previous Muslim Conference government.
Police were raiding different places for the arrest of the nominated accused, but had not been successful till the filing of this report.
Mirpur-based journalists, who had staged a protest shortly after the incident, have warned to stage a sit-in at 11am on Saturday, if the arrests were not made by then.
Calling upon the PML-N president Raja Farooq Haider to take action against the accused, they also urged the law enforcement agencies to ensure the safety of lives and properties of the journalists who dared to expose wrongdoings of the so-called influential segments of society.