A day before Prime Minister Narendra Modi publicly condemned the violence unleashed by cow vigilantes in various parts of India, a Muslim journalist in Bihar allegedly faced the wrath of a saffron-wearing mob.
In a first-person report for BBC Hindi, M Athar Uddin Munne Bharti, a journalist with NDTV, recounted the ordeal he faced while driving with his family in the state, which was later reported by Scroll.in.
The incident took place on 28 June, when he was travelling with his parents, aged 91 and 85 respectively, wife and two children from Karneji village in the Vaishali district of Bihar to Raheemabad in Samastipur.
En route he encountered severe traffic congestion on National Highway 28 near Muzaffarpur caused by a group of men in saffron. Passers-by told him to turn back and drive away but before he could do so, a mob gathered around his vehicle, bearing sticks. They were suspected to be members of the firebrand Hindutva organisation, Bajrang Dal.
Peering into the car, as they noticed Munne Bharti's bearded father and his wife in a veil, they started demanding that they chant 'Jai Shri Ram', or else be burnt alive. Fearful of their lives, the family did so, before they were allowed to leave the spot.
The journalist later informed Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar of the incident on Twitter.
In an atmosphere already vitiated by series of lynching of Muslims by intolerant mobs, the most recent is of a 15-year-old boy on a train in Ballabhgarh, Haryana. Last Wednesday, gatherings were organised in several cities to protests against such atrocities, marked by the hashtag #NotInMyName, which went viral on social media, leading to the spirited rallies in the real world.
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