t was 7 a.m. on Thursday when I checked out from the hotel from the Railway Station Road area in Farrukhabad. I had arrived in the city just the previous night, to investigate the truth behind the camps organised by Zakir Hussain Memorial Trust, an NGO run by Law Minister Salman Khurshid's wife Louise.
While working on a sensitive story such as this, I expected some obstacles, but what happened was beyond my imagination. I was accompanied by two locals and a member from India Against Corruption (IAC) who volunteered to help me.
Equipped with a list of names of disabled people who had received "help" from Salman Khurshid's NGO, the four of us zeroed in on Pithora village, Khurshid's native place. Once there, people from different communities and age groups came forward to talk about the camps and the "ghost names" that the list had. Once done with our investigation, we moved toward our car to discover that a small group of men had gathered. One of them asked me the purpose of my visit. When I realised that I was verifying the credentials of the disabled, the mob got agitated and asked me to leave. They were shouting that I was wasting my time and was trying to malign "Salman Sahab". I understood the gravity of the situation and did not wish to get into further arguments with the men and decided to leave Pithora. But a well built man in his early 30s started following us on a Bullet motorcycle. He started banging the passenger window asking my companion to roll down the glass. When we ignored him, he signalled to the driver to roll down the window. I obliged. What followed was a string of abuses and threats at me: "Tu nikal yahaan se. Tu Salman Sahab ka kuch nahi bigaad paayege. Farrukhabad se bahar niklo, batate hain tujhe (Get out of this place. You will not be able to do anything to Salman Sahab. I will deal with you once you step out of Farrukhabad)."
We asked the driver to speed up. The next stop was Kaimganj. As I finished with the investigation and was about to exit the city, the second attack happened, much more ferocious and well planned. I heard a loud thud on the window and saw a man who appeared to be in his 40s attempting to break the glass. Threatening me, he shouted, "Kar li tehkikat? **&*&* kuch nahee kar paayega tu, kitna bhee likh le Salman ke khilaaf. (Are you done with your investigation? You cannot harm Salman no matter how much you write)." He then asked the driver to stop the car. I asked the driver to accelerate the car. However, the attacker caught up with us and shouted, "Bahar nikal tujhey batata hun. Tu yahaan se zinda nahi jaayega. (Get out of the car. You will not return alive from here)." He then raced ahead and parked his bike. We saw three people joining him and then starting to pelt stones and bricks at our car. They missed us narrowly because of the speed at which our driver was driving the car. They followed us till the time we entered the main city of Farrukhabad.
I called up the Superintendent of Police, but the number was switched off. I then called up the ASP of the district, O.P. Singh, who said to my shock that I should have informed the police before going to these areas.
I am back in the city safely and have filed my story.