Muzaffarpur police are investigating an NDTV journalist’s account that he and his family were forced to chant “Jai Shri Ram” by some Bajrang Dal activists who allegedly threatened to torch their car if they did not. Ataharuddin Munne Bharti, a programme coordinator with NDTV India, confirmed the incident to The Indian Express but he is yet to file a police complaint on the June 28 incident.
Muzaffarpur SSP Vivek Kumar said: “I had no knowledge of it till I got a call from the police headquarters after instructions from the CM House to look into the allegations.” Ataharuddin, a resident of Karneji village in Vaishali, told The Indian Express that on June 28, he was travelling by car with his aged parents and wife to Samastipur district via Muzaffarpur when he encountered the Bajrang Dal activists.
The journalist said he would not be able to speak in detail as he was travelling. Later, he could not be contacted. JD(U) MLC and spokesperson Neeraj Kumar, who said he received a call from the journalist soon after the incident, told The Indian Express that Ataharuddin said that about five persons with saffron stoles on their shoulders came near their car during a roadblock on NH-28 in Muzaffarpur.
Kumar, quoting Ataharuddin, said: “They had sticks. They looked at my family in the car. My wife was in a veil and my father wears a beard. They started chanting Jai Shri Ram loudly. Two youths came and told us to chant Jai Shri Ram or they would torch our car. Gripped by fear, we said Jai Shri Ram and were allowed to go.”
Ataharuddin reportedly told Kumar that people said a cow was found dead on the road that triggered the highway block. But Sakra police station in-charge Jitendra Kumar said the block was because of a fight between a Hindu and a Muslim family. “No dead cow was found.”