Journalists today marched from the Mumbai Press Club to Bombay House, the Tata Group’s headquarters in South Mumbai, protesting the alleged assault on three photojournalists by security personnel of a private agency, reports Hemang Palan from IndiaGBnews’s Mumbai bureau.
The protesters staged a sit-in at the main entrance of Bombay House. They said the attack on the photojournalists was unjustified and intolerable and demanded “removal of TOPS”, a private security agency hired by the Tata Group.
Three photojournalists were allegedly beaten up by the security guards following a scuffle when ousted Tata Sons Chairman Cyrus Mistry had arrived to chair the board meeting of Indian Hotels, which runs the group’s Taj brand of hotels, to approve the second quarter earnings.
The agitation was jointly organized by Mumbai Press Club, Bombay News Photographers Association, TV Journalists Association, Mumbai Marathi Patrakar Sangh, Brihanmumbai Union of Journalists, Mantralaya and Vidhimandal Vartahar Sangh and Mumbai Hindi Patrakar Sangh.
“Our demands have been partially met. We have been informed by the TOPS group that a few guards, whose conduct was found to be totally out of order, have been terminated. But they are only foot soldiers. We demand action against the company. Therefore, Tata should disassociate from this firm,” said Gurbir Singh, a key functionary of Mumbai Press Club.
Addressing the protesting journalists, he claimed that “this is not the first time the TOPS group has attacked media persons. In the recent past, photojournalists were assaulted opposite Taj Mahal Hotel and near Mumbai Airport. We want a full stop on such violent acts by TOPS.”
Singh said they were supported by journalists associations across the country. “The Press Council of India is going to conduct a free inquiry into the incident,” he said.
Having established Tata Limited in 1907 to represent it in Europe, the group has grown to comprise 19 companies and a 60,000-strong workforce spread across the region. Tata companies include some well-known brands in Europe, among them: Tetley Tea, Tata Steel Europe, Jaguar, Land Rover, Tata Consultancy Services, Quilon, and The Bombay Brasserie. In addition, Tata Communications, Tata Chemicals Europe (formerly Brunner Mond), Tata Motors, and Taj Hotels are all significant players in their respective fields.
Tata’s association with UK academia dates back to the establishment of the Sir Ratan Tata Department at the London School of Economics in 1912. Subsequently called the Department of Social Sciences, it was set up to research the causes of poverty. Its first lecturer, Clement Attlee, went on to become the British prime minister who gave India its independence and also set up the British National Health Service.