Journalist forced to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’ by Hindutva group in Jantar Mantar

Anmol Pritam, a reporter from the ‘National Dastak’ YouTube channel was hounded by a crowd of Hindutva activists while covering an anti-Muslim gathering in Delhi’s Jantar Mantar on Sunday, with the crowd forcing him to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’.

In a video that has gone viral on social media, the reporter Pritam, can be heard resisting the Hindutva group and saying that he will chant the slogan only if and when he wants to, and not because he is being harassed into it.

“Agar itne saare log mujhe zabardasti gher kar kahenge ki “Jai Shreeram” bolo, toh main nahin bolunga,” the 24 year old journalist Pritam told the group.

Some men in the group respond by calling him a “jihadi”.

Islamophobic slogans calling for killing of Muslims were shouted at Jantar Mantar in Delhi on Sunday in a gathering of hundreds organised by Supreme Court lawyer and former spokesperson of the Delhi unit of Bharatiya Janata Party Ashwini Upadhyay.

“Salute Anmol Pritam, You are the bravest journalist. You have shown immense moral and mental strength in extreme situation,” author Professor Dilip Mandal tweeted.

The videos of the event showed Hindutva extremists shouting slogans threatening harm to Muslims, India’s largest religious minority group.

BJP leader Gajendra Chauhan was among the participants.

Jab mulle kaate jayenge, Ram-Ram chillayenge [Muslims will chant Ram-Ram when they will be slaughtered],” slogans were shouted during the event.

BJP leaders Ashwini Upadhyay (centre) and Gajendra Chahuhan (immediate left) at the Islamophobic event in Jantar Mantar in Delhi on Sunday, August 8. | Ashwini Upadhyay/Twitter

On Monday morning, ANI reported that the Delhi police had filed an FIR against unknown persons for inflammatory slogans being raised though the faces of Islamophobic event is known to the public. There are no FIRs against organisers.

According to Indian Express, the organisers ‘Bharat Jodo Movement’ had not taken permission for the event, the Delhi Police said. “there were 5,000 people…,” Indian Express quotes Shipra Srivastava, media in charge of Bharat Jodo Movement, a Hindu nationalist fringe group who conducted the event. Those who attended the event also flouted coronavirus guidelines as they neither wore masks nor maintained physical distancing norms.

Videos show the organisers distributing posters carrying for the murder of Muslims. “Hindu groups always protest against Muslims which shows their cowardice. They stay within constitutional and legal limits. This is possibly because Hindus are not capable of committing genocide,” said one poster titled “Islam Ka Vinaash” (Annihilation of Isam), reported Clarion.

This was the second incident in the past week where slogans calling for violence against Muslims were shouted in the national capital.

On Friday, Bharatiya Janata Party and other local Hindutva groups held an anti-Muslim Mahapanchayat, at Bharthal Chowk in New Delhi’s Dwarka against the construction of Haj House in Sector 22 of the area. Videos from the Islamophobic event show the hundreds of Hindutva activists making anti-Muslim comments and calling for violence if the Haj House is built.

Videos of Friday’s event showed Hinduta activists chanting “Jai Shri Ram” and “Vande Mataram” during a rally. They also shouted slogans such as: “Ye bhumi hamaari hai, iska faisla hum karenge (This is our land and we will decide its fate).”