Tejaswi Yadav's Bodyguards Rough up Journalists

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Patna: Powerful musclemen of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) heir-apparent and Deputy Chief Minister Tejaswi Yadav on Wednesday roughed up a number of media reporters and photographers who wanted to have a word with him about him being charged in a corruption case filed by the CBI.

Yadav, who made his first public appearance since being charged by the CBI following raids at various properties owned by him, his father and RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav and other members of his family last Friday, was in no mood to talk to the reporters.

The incident occurred outside the Old Secretariat building where Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had called for a Cabinet meet to discuss the fate of the so-called Mahagathbandhan, or Grand Alliance, in the wake of corruption accusations against the Deputy Chief Minister and other members of his family.

As soon as Tejaswi Yadav came out after attending the meeting, a group of microphone and camera-toting reporters approached him to ask him questions about the CBI charges against him. Instead of getting a response, his bodyguards slammed the reporters and grabbed one by the neck while landing at least half a dozen punches on him.

When other media-persons tried to rescue the photographer, they were also assaulted by Yadav's bodyguards as the Deputy Chief Minister stood there watching the drama unfold before his eyes while doing absolutely nothing to stop the situation from further escalating.

This is the second-time media-persons had been bullied by musclemen on RJD payroll in less than a week. Last Friday during the CBI raid at Rabri Devi's residence, heavily armed security guards hurled invectives at the reporters while also physically throwing them out on the street.

Reactions to today's incident were, as expected, on the party line. While Janata Dal – U leaders called the incident 'unfortunate', Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders condemned the brawl in the strongest terms demanding criminal action against both Yadav and his bodyguards.

"Thuggish behavior is not uncommon in the Lalu family. When faced with tough questions or challenges, they have a history of resorting to hurling abuses and even physical violence against reporters and opposition leaders. No one is surprised by it. What would really be surprising if Nitish Kumar does not take any action against these criminals who assaulted the photographer today," BJP state President Nityanand Rai said.

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