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'Won't Bow Before Hatred': Scribe Forced to Chant 'Jai Shri Ram' at Delhi Event

National Dastak reporter Anmol Pritam was intimidated and assaulted by a mob near Delhi's Jantar Mantar.

Updated
India
3 min read

Reporter: Kanishk Dangi

Video Producer: Mayank Chawla

Video Editor: Kanishk Dangi, Ashutosh Bhardwaj

As several videos of incendiary slogans being purportedly raised at a Jantar Mantar event held on Sunday, 8 August, went viral on social media, the video of a young journalist resisting the communal mob's coercive attempts stood out.

Anmol Pritam, a reporter with National Dastak – a web-based news channel reporting on marginalised communities, was intimidated and assaulted by a group of men near Delhi's Jantar Mantar on Sunday.

Pritam took to Twitter to share the video footage of the episode.

"An attempt was made to make me say 'Jai Shri Ram' by intimidating me. When I refused, I was also hit and pushed. You can see for yourself in the video," Pritam said in the tweet.

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"So-called Hindu organisations tried to threaten Bahujan journalist Anmol Pritam. It appears from this incident that these so-called Hindu organisations do not consider people coming from Dalit, OBC society as Hindus. National Dastak team condemns this incident," the National Dastak said, sharing another video of the episode.

What Does the Video Show?

At the outset of the video shared by National Dastak, an unidentified man can be heard insistently commanding Pritam to chant 'Jai Shri Ram.' When Pritam refuses, the mob of men surrounding him call him 'Jihadi'.

Another man then exhorts the journalist to comply with their demand to say the phrase, asking him if there's something stuck in his mouth that's stopping him. “Either leave the country... If you want to stay, then you have to say (Jai Shri Ram),” a man could be heard telling Pritam.

Amid the ruckus, Pritam can be heard saying, "I will say it if I want to say it. Don't force me to say it."

"If so many of you will surround me and demand that I say 'Jai Shri Ram', I will not say it," he adds.

What Led to the Incident?

Pritam had visited the Jantar Mantar area in order to cover the rally organised by BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay.

The rally had been called to demonstrate against colonial laws and demand for a uniform civil code. Several reports of inflammatory slogans being raised at the march have surfaced over the past couple of days.

Pritam told Newslaundry that when he reached the site of the protest march at 3 pm, he could hear hundreds of people raising communal slogans, even as there was heavy police deployment in the area.

The reporter had then approached the mob and asked questions about the protest. A question about poverty in India under the Narendra Modi-led government had subsequently triggered the crowd, Pritam told Newslaundry, following which the group of men began to bully him, saying that he belonged to a 'jihadi channel'.

'Will Not Bow Down Before Hatred': Anmol Pritam

"Have not bowed before hatred, will never bow down," reporter Anmol Pritam said in a tweet, a day after the incident took place.

"As long as I am alive, I should look alive," he further stated.

"We are not afraid, we will not be afraid. As long as we are alive we will keep fighting," he said, sharing a tweet by senior journalist Dilip Mandal, that called for action against Pritam's assaulters.

"If they had beaten me, the physical wounds would have recovered. But if I had compromised on my morals and given in, my conscience would not have been able to recover," he said in an interview with The Wire on Monday, 9 August.

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'Teachable Moment': Journalists Hail Pritam's Bravery

Several journalists, on Monday, took to Twitter to hail reporter Anmol Pritam's courage in the face of intimidation, with #ISupportAnmol trending on the micro-blogging website.

(With inputs from The Wire and Newslaundry)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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