Amid all the unrest and chaos in Kerala, a powerful photograph of a woman journalist covering the violent protests in Kerala over Sabarimala is going viral.
“I was shocked when I got that unexpected kick on my back. It was the worst experience in my professional career.”
These were the words of Shajila Abdulrahman, a cameraperson who was allegedly assaulted by BJP workers in Thiruvananthapuram on the day when two women in their forties entered the Sabarimala temple.
When Shajila started to shoot, the mob threatened to kill her. She ignored them and continued her job.
Talking to News18, she recalled:
“I didn’t know where that kick came from. It caught me unawares and hurt my back. As I was writhing in pain, the attackers tried to snatch the camera, but I used all my strength to keep hold of it. I injured by neck in the melee.”
After the protests, she went to the office to hand over the visuals before she could see a doctor.
“For me, it is duty first.”
Kerala’s local newspaper, Mathrubhumi published a picture of her in tears, continuing to shoot even after being attacked by protesters.
She can be seen here, clearly disturbed but continuing to shoot. Kudos to her bravery and professionalism. BJP/RSS leaders, call off your goons! Journalists aren’t going to be cowed down by them. pic.twitter.com/XGm8vgsqtq— geeta seshu (@geetaseshu) January 3, 2019
The picture soon went viral and people on the Internet are praising her for showing extraordinary courage in tough times.
Duty comes first! – Shajila Abdulrahman. She continued to work even after she had been assaulted. Went to the doctor only after handing over footage of the violence to her editorial team. https://t.co/Kmm7ilK1XQ— C.P.Geevan (@cpgeevan) January 4, 2019
#Cameraperson from Kairali TV covering Sabarimala protests in Kerala continues to do her duty despite being disrupted by goons. Salute her courage! @kairalionline @lakshmisharat @SupriyaUnniNair @sudhapillai @NWM_India @dhanyarajendran@ pic.twitter.com/ow3YYzB1rc— Susheela Nair (@NairSusheela) January 4, 2019
Kairali TV cameraperson Shajila Fathima, who was manhandled by BJP cadre as they marched to Kerala secretariat on Sabarimala, resumes duty ignoring the pain. Salutes. #Sabarimala #pressfreedom #kerala pic.twitter.com/PJsOuIaklo— JournaLust (@jinoyjosep) January 3, 2019
Its extremely painful to see her crying. But remember Shajila Fathima, “we are proud of you”.— MNZB (@MNZBlive) January 3, 2019
After two women who have entered the temple, now there is Shajila Ali Fatima, a media person who stood up against saffron goons. Kudos to Kerala Women!!!#GenderJusticeLongLive— Shubhanshu Singh (@subhanshu2106) January 3, 2019