Local television reporter Naveen Soorinje and his cameraman Shiva Kumar, who captured on tape the hooliganism by a crew of self-proclaimed moral activists, are booked under the same law that charged the molesters of the latest Mangalore resort attacks.
The police have booked Soorinje and Kumar under the IPC section of unlawful Activities Prevention Act.
Soorinje is accused of not informing the police despite having firsthand information that the Hindu Jagarana Vedike activists' were about to pull a raid on the Morning Mist Resort in Mangalore on Saturday evening.
Soorinje was suspected to have willingly taken a discreet stand on the incident in a bid to cover the story first and to build up TRP ratings for the channel he works for.
The allegations surrounding Soorinje's role in the incident of moral policing have sparked a debate on the responsibilities of journalists during such unfortunate occurrences. Several questions were raised whether a scribe is supposed to remain on stand-by and capture on tape the victim's ordeal or reach out to their rescue.
Soorinje and his crew were not the first to come under the scanner for covering on video such shocking acts.
Earlier this month, Newslive reporter Gaurav Jyoti Neog was highly criticized for filming the entire incident of a mob molesting a hapless teenage girl on a busy street of Guwahati instead of rescuing her from the tormentors.
Neog was booked under 11 counts, including obscene act and disturbing public tranquility, and was later arrested.
Meanwhile, Soorinje claimed he is innocent and reportedly argued that he attempted to alert the police several times but couldn't get through to them.
According to reports, the police reached the spot in 20 minutes, but by then the mob had already delivered enough pain and shame to the students, who were celebrating a birthday party at the resort before they were attacked.
The attackers beat 13 students that included five girls and eight boys. Post the incident, the right-wing activists and their supporters alleged that the students were having a rave party and indulged in illegal activities which went against Hindu culture.
Police officials, who inspected the resort room, confirmed that there were no signs of a rave party or anything related to illegal activities. Local media reported that the officials claimed to have found a few beer bottles, snacks, food packets and other beverage bottles that the students had arranged for the party.
Police arrest eight and manhunt for seven:
At least 20 men were involved in the Saturday evening raid on the Morning Mist resort. Police officials have placed eight of them into custody and have launched a manhunt for seven suspects who are currently absconding.