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Attack on Rajdeep Sardesai: Account of an eye witness from Madison Square Garden

By Achint Sharma

The Rajdeep Sardesai video no one will post on youtube or Social Media!

Rajdeep was already trending on twitter after what happened earlier in the day before the Modi's speech at the Madison Square Garden. You guys saw that the video, didn't you. (This was shot before PM arrived at Madison Square Garden) But this is the episode that no one will tell you about, and in fact, I DARE EVERY ONE OF YOU WHO RECORDED THIS BUT WON'T POST IT FOR REASONS NOT TO BE NAMED.

 Attack on Rajdeep Sardesai: Account of an eye witness from Madison Square Garden

Senior journalist Rajdeep Sardesai. Image courtesy: IBNlive

The Story Part II ( Right after the event at Madison Square Garden) I was at Times Square when I heard or in fact read about it as the screen out there flashed a tweet about Rajdeep's episode earlier in the day.

Once done interviewing and usual stuff, took a walk down to Madison Square Garden. The Venue where Rajdeep was heckled in the morning. By the time I reached, the speech was still on, so took a pit-stop right across the street at my hotel to charge the batteries of my cell phone and my digicam.

I return, interviewed a couple of people on their way out. But while I interviewed the last family, I hear some noise, quite different from 'Har Har Modi' or the 'Modi Modi' chant across the 7th Avenue. I turn around only to find Rajdeep Sardesai and a senior cameraperson in the middle of a mob trying to calm down a group of approximately 50 people around him. My first Reaction: Are these guys for real?

Second reaction: To see if any other TV crew was there, none! I barge in, just to check if Rajdeep was alright. Yes, he was. Smiling, calm, and trying to reason out a crowd which wasn't prepared to listen to anything he said. Then the pushing and shoving begins. A barrage of abuses follow. Why? Probably because of Rajdeep's tweet about an influential person staying in the same hotel as Narendra Modi's.

The mob called him by names and hurled the choicest of words towards him. When I tried to shield the fellow journalist, I realised, that I became a target as well. This went on for good 10-15 minutes. The NYPD was right there, but won't blame them for not knowing what was going on in the middle of that crowd of 50 odd people. The cameraman had to ensure his equipment was safe, so was trying his best he could, to fend off a few people who tried to come closer to Rajdeep. This went on for good 10 minutes.

Despite my repeated requests to stay away from Rajdeep, the mob continued to shout pro-Modi slogans right in front of his face to instigate him. A particular person wearing glasses, and once again in an orange attire, almost shoved his phone into the cameraman's lens to which Rajdeep protested.

Luckily, fellow scribes Mohit Roy Sharma and Bhupendra Chaubey arrived at the scene. Three of us literally made a human chain, to get Rajdeep out of that place. I'm sure all of this is on tape as the cameraman might have stopped recording, but the PCR back in India would have everything that transpired in front of that camera lens.

I say this with conviction that a lot of people had their cameras rolling as well. The abuses, the pushing and shoving, and the instigation, all on tape.
Yes, you have every right to be a supporter, but let's not mix a fan with a fanatic. Learn to respect other people. Learn to respect to earn respect. Just a few minutes ag o, the Prime Minster delivered a lovely speech about peace and how India is a great democracy. But you guys defy all logic.

I hope this post is shared and reaches all the people who saw the second episode right in front of their eyes and captured it on their cameras.
Look inside you, and just think what you did and ponder upon what you could have done.

Peace

(The author is a Deputy News Editor at the Dainik Bhaskar. This post first appeared on the author's Facebook page. We are using this post with the permission of Sharma)

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Updated Date: Sep 29, 2014 15:56:40 IST