Three photo-journalists were assaulted allegedly by private security guards employed by the Tata Group after a scuffle erupted outside the company’s headquarters at Bombay House in Fort on Friday. The incident took place when journalists had gathered outside Bombay House to cover a board meeting of Indian Hotels, a Tata Group company. According to sources, the crowd jostled to take Cyrus Mistry’s photograph when the ousted chairman of Tata Group arrived. In the chaos, one of Mistry’s personal security guards was allegedly shoved, which led to the guards assaulting the crowd.
Among those injured are Hindustan Times’ Arijit Sen, The Times of India’s S L Shantakumar and Atul Kamble from Mid-Day. The injured photojournalists were taken to St George’s Hospital in Fort for treatment.
“There were six to seven guards who assaulted us. They were jumping and hitting us as if they wanted to kill us. I have never seen security guards like these. They were ferocious and behaved like hooligans.” Arijit Sen, one of the injured photojournalists.
On its part, the Tata Group condemned the incident.
“We apologise to those injured in the incident. Bombay House has seen huge crowds before, but nothing like this has ever happened. We will ensure that such incidents never occur,” Tata Sons spokesperson Debasis Ray.
Watch the video of the assault :
Rajneesh Kakade, Secretary, Bombay News Photographers’ Association (BNPA), rejected Tata Group’s apology and demanded strict action against the guards involved in the incident. “We are demanding the arrest of those security guards. The police have taken the injured photographers’ statements. We don’t want their apology. They should discontinue the contract of the security service,” he said.
Kakade, who too was present at St George’s, said equipment was damaged in the scuffle as well.
A case has been registered against the security guards at MRA Marg police station and the police are probing the matter.
The Tata Group has been seeing strong interest following the October 24 decision of the Tata Sons board to remove Cyrus Mistry as chairman. Company patriarch Ratan Tata was subsequently reinstated as interim chairman.
Mistry, however, continues to be chairman of some group companies, including that of Indian Hotels, and Friday’s was its first board meeting after his ouster.