Munne Bharti, a journalist with news channel NDTV India, claimed that he was stopped and forced to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’ by men believed to be Bajrang Dal activists, while travelling with his family from Bihar’s Vaishali to his mother’s village in Samastipur. In a first-person account published by BBC Hindi, Bharti recounted the incident which took place on June 29, one km from the toll booth on Muzzaffarnagar NH 28, when men donning saffron blocked the road.
Bharti claimed that 4-5 Bajrang Dal activists wielding bamboo sticks surrounded his car after they took note of his father’s long beard and his wife’s veil. He was travelling with his parents and wife to meet his ailing maternal uncle.
“They threatened to set our car on fire if we did not chant Jai Shri Ram,” Bharti wrote. Sensing danger, Bharti and other members of his family complied. After being let off by the men, they took a detour and continued their journey. Bharti also took to Twitter and tagged Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in his post.
— Munne Bharti (@munnebharti) June 28, 2017
The incident comes close on the heels of widespread criticism over the recent lynchings across the country. Earlier on Thursday, PM Narendra Modi condemned violence in the name of cow protection and urged people to not take law into their hands. President Pranab Mukherjee also spoke on the violent lynchings. “We should ponder about this country when we see someone being lynched,” he said.