FeaturedInternationalinternational, political, nationalNationalPoliticsUttarakhand

Uttarakhand BJP govt resort to strong arm tactics against ‘inconvenient’ journalists

Listen to this article

Uttarakhand BJP govt resort to strong arm tactics against ‘inconvenient’ journalists


Dehradun, May 16

The strong arm tactics adopted by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state government headed by Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami against journalists by instituting police cases against them for reporting has evoked strong response from the journalist community. In a bid to silence and arm twist journalists, the Uttarakhand police had registered cases against three journalists who criticised the state government or merely reported on the prevailing situation and were considered ‘inconvenient’ by the ruling dispensation.

In the most recent case, a police case was instituted against a journalist with Hindi daily Dainik Bhaskar,  over his May 15 report on the overwhelming crowd and the “death of 10 devotees in four days” enroute Chardham or the state’s four major pilgrimage sites – Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri.

A delegation of the Uttarakhand Patarkar union today called upon Director General of Police (DGP) Abhinav Kumar and submitted a memorandum to the state Chief Secretary against the registration of a case against Manmeet Rawat for his factual reporting about the prevailing situation enroute Char Dham yatra which started this month. The union argued that the administration including Garhwal Commissioner himself admitted inadequacies in managing the rush of pilgrims and also admitted about eleven deaths of pilgrims due to different reasons.

The union termed the action against journalist as an assault on the freedom of expression and attack on the freedom of press which is considered as fourth pillar of democracy. The Union charged that institution of a case against journalist for reporting about mismanagement during Char Dham yatra amounts to threat against any negative reporting. It further said that the administration had all the right to give a rejoinder to the published report if it felt that something was not correctly reported. The Union strongly urged the state government to take back the false and fabricated case against Manmeet Rawat.

Indresh maikhuri, Secretary of CPI(ML) in a statement has strongly condemned the dictatorial attitude of the state government in instituting false cases against journalists and for creating ‘reign of terror’.

The report published by Manmeet Rawat which invited police case.

The police, in a statement posted on X, called the news “false” and “misleading”. It said the “police, armed forces and the government are putting efforts day and night to manage the crowd and the road jams” and that it had lodged an FIR against Rawat at the Uttarkashi police station “under relevant sections”. the reporter was booked under IPC sections 153 A and 505.

The statement further said: “Please do not try to lower the morale of the police and the administration by spreading such false propaganda and rumours. Going ahead, strict action will be taken against those spreading rumours and misinformation.”

Interestingly, Uttarakhand Chief Secretary Radha Raturi has also warned against any false news or video. Already twelve pilgrims have died during the first week of ‘Char Dham’ pilgrimage, according to official reports.

A week earlier, Uttarakhand police had  booked two independent journalist namely Gajendra Rawat and Ganesh panwar for allegedly uploading a face book post regarding the alleged theft of gold plates from Kedarnath temple during its’ beautification drive. The complaint was lodged on behalf of Chairman of Badri-Kedar Temple Committee Ajendra Ajay, a RSS leader. A case of offending religious sentiments was lodged against him.

On the other hand, Gajendra Rawat in a letter to DGP wrote that the videos of Teerth Purohits charging that gold plates of Kedarnath temples have turned into brass are on social media and it has hurt his religious sentiments as well and he had only reiterated the charges of the Purohits which were in public domain since long.

He demanded that the role of the BKTC chairman should be investigated in the case

Earlier in March, this year, Aushotosh Negi, another independent journalist who was in the forefront of agitation seeking justice for Ankita Bhandari, a young girl who was murdered by her employer, a RSS worker was booked and arrested on teh charges of SC/ST Act.

Uttarakhand Director General of Police, Abhinav Kumar, had issued a statement accusing the journalist of being “part of a conspiracy” to “sow anarchy and discord in society” through his reporting and activism around the police investigation into the killing of 19-year-old Ankita Bhandari. Ashutosh Negi later got bail from the court.

The prosecution of journalist who had been critical of state BJP government and leaders had ben going on unabated. Shiv Parsad Semwal, editor of ‘Parvatjan’ news portal who has been critical of former  Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat and BJP government in his writings was arrested on November 23 on a complaint of money extortion

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button
error: Content is protected !!