KOLKATA: The West Bengal government has slapped non-bailable charges on Zee News editor Sudhir Chaudhary, West Bengal correspondent Pooja Mehta and cameraperson Tanmay Mukherjee under Section 153A (promoting enmity) for their coverage of the Dhulagarh riots in Howrah district.
The Bengal government and media houses in the State strictly believe that reporting on the recurring communal clashes in the State would aggravate the tension and lead to further clashes.
Not many Bengali or English media, based in the State, have reported on several riots that occurred in the State in the past few months.
Chaudhary took to Twitter and Facebook to protest the charges brought against the media house for its coverage of the riots.
“When you can’t manage the media, use the state machinery to conquer the media only to conceal the failures of your administration. It shows the intolerance of a chief minister, who is using the state machinery as her personal fiefdom and acting like a feudal lord,” he wrote on Facebook.
Though the Sankrail Police Station didn’t confirm registering an FIR, a copy of the same is available with Express.
“We register over 30 FIRs on a daily basis. We can’t distinguish which are related to Dhulagarh,” said a police officer at the Sankrail Police Station.
Chaudhary has also suggested that an independent media group visit Dhulagarh to perceive the tense situation on the ground. However, no media representatives are allowed to enter Dhulagarh.
The town has been barricaded and is under heavy security cover after communal violence erupted between two communities on Milad-un-Nabi or birthday of Prophet Mohammad on December 12.
Meanwhile, Twitterati took to #EmergencyinBengal to strongly condemn the action taken against Zee Media and compared the action with the one-day ban on NDTV for its coverage of the Pathankot attack.