LUCKNOW: The Varanasi Police have booked a senior journalist and executive editor of a prominent news portal under SC/ST Act and various sections of IPC for allegedly misreporting about the poverty and hunger of a Dalit woman in Domri village, adopted by PM Narendra Modi.
As per the police sources, an FIR, the copy of which is with TNIE, was lodged against the journalist on the basis of a complaint filed by the Dalit woman who was allegedly depicted as a sufferer in the news report written by the journalist. A resident of the village situated in the banks of Ganga in Varanasi, the woman registered her complaint with the Ramnagar police.
Complainant Mala Devi, a contractual sanitary worker (safai karmachari) with Varanasi Municipal Corporation, alleges that the story was ‘misreported’ by the journalist where she was wrongly portrayed as somebody living in extreme poverty and hunger during the lockdown. The journalist has been booked under Sections 269 (negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life), 501 (printing or engraving matter known to be defamatory) of IPC and also Sections of SC/ST Act on June 13, 2020.
The case had been given to circle officer Kotwali Pradeep Singh Chandel for investigation. Mala Devi has claimed in her complaint that while she is an outsourced contractual worker at the Varanasi Nagar Nigam, she was referred wrongly as a ‘domestic help’ in the report published on the news portal. Devi said her mother receives a pension from the civic body as well.
In her complaint, Mala has said that during lockdown a woman claiming to be a reporter reached her village and started talking about lockdown with her. Mala has alleged she told the journalist that she was not facing any problem in feeding her family.
“But later I came to know that she ‘wrongly’ mentioned in her report that I work as domestic help and my employers stopped paying me. She wrote that I sleep by consuming tea and roti only and my children were starving during lockdown,” complained Mala.
Mala Devi claimed that the journalist had mocked her financial situation and caste by quoting her saying that she and her children slept empty stomach. “I am mentally shocked while my image in society has been tarnished,” she said while requesting to take action against the journalist.