MANDI: An FIR has been registered against a journalist in Mandi, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur's home district, for allegedly publishing "fake news" about migrant labourers not getting ration here, police said on Friday.
The multimedia journalist, Ashwani Saini (41), however said he was just discharging his duty by highlighting the plight of migrant labourers, who have got stranded due to the countrywide lockdown, and accused Sundernagar Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) of trying to "gag the press".
He also wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur and the High Court chief justice, saying such action from the administration would weaken the country's fight against coronavirus pandemic and urged them to direct withdrawal of the case.
Himachal Patrakar Sangh has also supported the journalist, who has been booked for his news clip which was published on a local portal on April 7, and demanded the CM order a probe into the matter.
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Sundernagar Deputy Superintendent of Police Gurbachan Singh said, "An FIR has been lodged against Ashwani Saini under section 188 (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of IPC and section 54 (Punishment for false warning) of the Disaster Management Act on the basis of a complaint by Sundernagar SDM Rahul Chauhan."
The DSP said it was alleged in the complaint that Saini had circulated a "fake news" that migrant labourers staying at Bharjwanu near Sundernagar were not being provided with ration.
Criticizing the registration of the FIR, Himachal Patrakar Sangh president Jai Kumar Sharma urged the chief minister to order a high level-inquiry into the matter.