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National Press Club condemns attack on Indian journo covering Khalistani protest in Washington DC
Indian journo attack
Image Credit: Twitter/ Lalit K Jha

National Press Club condemns attack on Indian journo covering Khalistani protest in Washington DC

| @indiablooms | 28 Mar 2023, 09:58 pm

Washington/IBNS: The National Press Club, the world's leading professional organization for journalists, Tuesday condemned the attack on Indian journalist Lalit K. Jha of the Press Trust of India, as he was covering a protest by Khalistani forces at the Indian Embassy in Washington DC last week.

In a statement, National Press Club President Eileen O'Reilly said: "We are dismayed that Lalit, a senior correspondent for PTI was harassed, abused and eventually struck in the side of the head by a stick swung by Khalistan protestors outside the Indian Embassy."

Reacting to the action taken by US Secret Service over the issues, he said: "By all reports the Secret Service did a great job, stepping in and warning the protestors and calling for more officers to secure the perimeter so journalists including Lalit could continue to report safely."

In recent days, there have been similar protests at Indian consulates in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York, the National Press Club stated.

"Bundles of stout sticks are brought in and used to threaten and intimidate journalists and others during the protests. Journalism is a dangerous business and without some quick work by the Secret Service, Lalit might have been more seriously injured," the organisation said condemning the threat of journalism.

"We urge those who protest around Embassies and Consulates to follow the U.S. laws related to Press Freedom at all times and we commend the Secret Service and local police for acting quickly to ensure the safety of Lalit and other reporters working there," O'Reilly said.

The Indian Embassy in the US earlier condemned the attack on Lalit.

In a statement, the Embassy had said: " We have seen disturbing visuals of a senior Indian journalist from the Press Trust of India being abused, threatened & assaulted physically while covering so called ‘Khalistan protest’ in Washington DC earlier today."

"We understand that the journalist was first verbally intimidated, then physically assaulted, and fearing for his personal safety and well being, had to call in law enforcement agencies, who responded promptly," read the statement.

The Embassy also thanked law enforcement agencies for their prompt response in the matter.

Journalist Lalit Jha also tweeted a video of the incident and thanked the US Sceret Service for helping him.

He wrote: "Thank you @SecretService 4 my protection 2day 4 helping do my job, otherwise I would have been writing this from hospital. The gentleman below hit my left ear with these 2 sticks & earlier I had to call 9/11 & rushed 2 police van 4 safety fearing physical assault."

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