Meerut: The crowd was cheering 'Modi, Modi', the Prime Minister was speaking on national security and the Newsclick team was running for cover, as an angry mob was chased us when they heard us talking on issues like employment, farmer's distress and social security, which were not part of Narendra Modi's first speech to kick-start his 2019 Lok Sabha poll campaign from Meerut on Thursday.
I was giving a ‘piece to camera’ (PTC) after talking to people who had gathered at the venue to listen to Modi. As I said in the PTC that no issues of people's concern, such as unemployment, agrarian crisis, women's security, etc. were mentioned in the speeches made by the leaders, including Modi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, and that the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) was trying to capitalise the recent air strike against Pakistan and the launch of space missile to destroy satellites, some people standing around me started hurling abuses and pounced on me and my colleague who was handling the camera.
The angry crowd that encircled us was heard saying: "We know your channel. Yeh Abhisar wala hai...You are against Modi," "Tum sab deshdrohi ho, bhag jao yahan se", "Desh Ke Gaddaron Ko, Jutey Maaro Saalon Ko" And "Gathbandhan ne kitne paise diye hain?" ( We Know Your Channel, It’s Abhisar (Sharma) Wala, You Are Against Modi, Hurl Shoes at the Country’s Traitors, How Much Money Has the (Opposition) Grand Alliance Paid You?).
Sensing trouble, I cut the PTC short, but by the time we could wrap up, we were surrounded by around 100 people. The enraged crowd was hurling abuses at us and provoking us to engage in a verbal exchange. Even as we decided to keep mum and walk away, the mob tried to target my face even though I had stopped the PTC.
Another colleague, Saurabh Sharma, who was recording at a distance, suddenly spotted us surrounded by the angry mob. He tried to intervene and calm them down, but the mob was adamant and aggressive. That’s when we ran for police cover across the road. Soon Saurabh Sharma joined us, but the angry crowd continued to chant pro-Modi slogans. All this happened when the Prime Minister’s address was still going on.