Basti, Sep 3 After Editors Guild of India condemned the Uttar Pradesh government’s action filing of FIR against a journalist who made a video of serving ‘namak-roti’ (salt and bread) to children as mid-day meal, saying that”it is a cruel case of shooting the messenger.”
The Guild, in a statement, said”It is shocking that instead of taking action to fix what is wrong on the ground, the government has filed criminal cases against the journalist. Even if the government believes that his report is wrong, there are easy and conventional redresses available. Using the IPC and police is no way to respond to this.”
Uttar Pradesh Basic Education Minister Satish Dwivedi said that he would initiate a probe in this regard.
Speaking on the issue, Dwivedi told reporters on Monday: “We’ll initiate a probe after having complete information from our department and Mirzapur’s police officer”.
There should be no action for revealing corruption or any such fact, the minister said, adding that I would only be able to tell you anything after asking for a report from the police officer about the incident.
“We took a departmental action in the incident. But, first, we’ll see the grounds of police action. Whether the action was taken in the same matter or any other matter, I would only be able to tell you after asking from them,” he said.
The incident of serving salt and bread to children as mid-day meal in Sioor primary school of Mirzapur district’s Jamalpur division came to light when a journalist recorded the video of the incident. But the district administration has now filed a case against the journalist in Ahraura police station.
The case was allegedly filed against Sioor resident Rajkumar Pal and journalist Pawan Jaiswal under different sections of the Indian Penal Code including Section 420 by the Division Education officer following an order by the District Magistrate.
The video went viral on August 22, consequently, the basic education officer was transferred, and Headmaster of the school and other teachers were suspended.
However, the district administration, refuting the charges, said that the salt-bread was served with the motive to record this video only.
While journalist Jaiswal said: “I exposed the matter that children are being served ‘namak-roti’. Now, I have been made an accused by filing an FIR”.
Jaiswal said that when he reached to report the matter then the Panchayat Head’s man told him that the children are being served salt and bread since three-four days. After that, he informed the concerned officer.
“I was shocked to see children eating ‘namak-roti’. When I informed the DM, he said the matter is being probed, don’t report it to media. The probe proved the allegation right and he had suspended two people,” said the journalist.
The Guild urged the state government to withdraw these cases forthwith and ensure that the journalist is not put to any further harm or harassment.
It also expressed “grave concern” over recent incidents of restrictions on the overseas travel of journalists.