PATNA: A journalist working with an English daily was threatened to be shot dead for his reporting about RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, his family and party, according to a complaint lodged with police on Thursday.
Amit Bhelari, who works with The Telegraph newspaper in Patna, said he received a phone call from a number not known to him on Thursday evening, and the caller abused him with unprintable foul language and threatened to shoot him dead.
“What rubbish have you been writing about Lalu’s family?... I will enter into your house and shoot you dead,” the caller is heard saying in the audio clip of the conversation that Bhelari submitted to police.
Bhelari, who has been working as a journalist for over ten years, said this is the first time he received such a threatening call. He lodged a written complaint at Kotwali police station and also gave police the number from which the call had come.
“We have started a probe into the incident. It is a serious matter,” said Patna senior superintendent of police (SSP) Manu Maharaaj.
Bihar Working Journalists Union (BWJU) condemned the threat call and appealed to police to immediately arrest the culprit after a probe. “Such incidents certainly are an attack on the freedom of the press in Bihar. keeping in view the growing number of attacks on journalists in the state in recent months, police should take this case seriously and arrest the culprit immediately,” said BWJU president Nivedita Jha.
Several journalists in Bihar have been attacked in recent years for their reporting. In March, a journalist of a Hindi daily newspaper and his friend were allegedly murdered by a former mukhiya’s husband in Bihar’s Bhojpur district after a dispute originating from news coverage by the journalist.
Two other journalists working with Hindi dailies were attacked in separate incidents in Bihar’s Arwal and Muzaffarpur districts in September 2017. While one of them was shot at two bike-borne men allegedly linked to a local MLA of the ruling JD(U) in Arwal, the other was beaten up by a group of liquor smugglers in Muzaffarpur district.
Rajdeo Ranjan, the bureau chief of Hindi daily Hindustan, was shot dead in Siwan in May 2016 allegedly at the behest of don-turned-politician and former RJD MP Mohammad Shahabuddin.