The Dossier
Domari village

UP Police Books Journalist Supriya Sharma For Reporting On PM’s Adopted Village

Supriya Sharma
(Photo credit: cpj.org)

An FIR has been filed against Scroll’s executive editor Supriya Sharma and its chief editor over a report published on effects of the country’s lockdown in Varanasi’s Domari village. The FIR was filed on June 13 at Ramnagar Police Station based on a complaint from Mala Devi, a resident of Domari village.

The Uttar Pradesh police has booked the executive editor and editor-in-chief of the news portal Scroll under various charges of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 and sections of the Indian Penal Code. The complainant Mala Devi, has alleged that Supriya Sharma, misrepresented her comments and identity in the report.

Domari village, an area in Varanasi constituency which was adopted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi under the Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana, is a model village scheme for parliamentarians. Modi, in 2018, had decided that he won’t be satisfied by adopting only three villages in his constituency of Varanasi, but will also adopt Domari village situated on the banks of Ganga as a model village for holistic development.

Sharma’s report, for which an FIR has been filed against her, reported how the poor’s of the village, who are recently out of work following the pandemic situation, survive without essential food because of a malfunctioning public distribution system (PDS), inefficient administrative machinery, and corruption. She also pointed out that the relief food kits promised by the state administration barely reached the village.

The news report quoted Mala Devi as having said that she is a domestic worker and had been facing a shortage of essential food items as she did not have a ration card. While, according to the FIR, Mala Devi complained that she was not a domestic help but worked as a sanitation worker with Varanasi city municipality through outsourcing. She also said none of her family members faced any problem during the lockdown.

Also Read: 55 Journalists Threatened, Booked, Arrested For COVID-19 Reporting

In the FIR, she also accused Sharma of mocking her over poverty and caste by claiming that she and her children went hungry during the lockdown. Reacting to the FIR, Scroll replied, “Scroll.in interviewed Mala in Domari village, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, on June 5, 2020. Her statements have accurately been reported in the article titled ‘In Varanasi village adopted by Prime Minister Modi, people went hungry during the lockdown’”

Scroll.in stands by the article, which has been reported from the Prime Minister’s constituency. This FIR is an attempt to intimidate and silence independent journalism, reporting on conditions of vulnerable groups during the Covid-19 lockdown.”

Supriya is a two-time Ramnath Goenka award winner, as well as a recipient of the Chameli Devi Outstanding Woman Journalist award for 2014-15.

The FIR was slammed by many including journalists online. This case on Sharma is considered an addition to a long list of complaints filed against journalists in the country. Many journalists, activists and writers called it an attack on the freedom of expression, and an attempt to frighten journalists.

Reporters Without Borders, on Thursday, condemned the first information report filed against Scroll.in Executive Editor Supriya Sharma. The Committee to Protect Journalists retweeted a report in The Hindu about the FIR. заявка на займ онлайнзайм от 18 лет на картуглавный займ красноярск vivus займзайм на счет в банкезайм на карту без отказов

Mahima Joshi

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