AAP leaning propaganda blog Janta Ka Reporter, notorious for spreading unverified information, looked like sinking to a new low on Wednesday, after it revealed the name and photo of the minor, whose allegedly offensive Facebook post triggered the riot by Jihadi mobs in West Bengal’s Basirhat.
The Basirhat region in West Bengal has been on the boil since Monday, after Jihadi mobs decided to go on rampage, burning and looting Hindu establishments, assaulting villagers, and burning vehicles as a form of protest against the Facebook post, which allegedly denigrated their religion.
While a few media houses were reporting things as it is and other were trying to water down things, Janta Ka Reporter (JKR) decided to take things to a whole different level.
They published an article (still live on their website; we are not linking it back as it can compromise the safety of the minor) titled “What really happened in Bengal and how it was designed to cause riots”, which began with mentioning the full name of the boy. The article also removed all the ambiguity about him being a minor by introducing him as a 17 years old, and proceeded to share his picture:
In the rest of the article, it tried to insinuate that it was actually the RSS and the BJP, which decided to use the boy as a pawn in order to instigate riots in the region. While the article not even once condemned the Muslim mobs for their rampage and painted them as ‘poor from a very backward area’, it decided to cast aspersions on the integrity of the West Bengal governor by calling him abusive and a BJP block President.
Coming back to the issue of disclosing the identify of the minor student who has been arrested, JKR is clearly violating the section 74(1) of the Juvenile Justice Act by ‘revealing the identity of the minor’.
As per the section 74(1) of the JUVENILE JUSTICE (CARE AND PROTECTION OF CHILDREN) ACT, 2015 [PDF]:
The section explicitly mentions that no media publication shall disclose information that may lead to the identification of the minor in conflict with the law. The JKR has clearly violated it by openly publishing the name and picture of the accused.
The act specifies that such an action can only be undertaken after proper permission is given, provided such a disclosure is in the interest of the minor, which clearly isn’t the case here. In fact, the safety of the minor has been compromised by revealing his identify, who could now be attacked by some overzealous Islamist after being released from jail and after the matter has subsided.
The section specifies that anyone violating the section 74(1) shall be punished with an imprisonment for a term stretching up to 6 months or a fine which may extend to Rs 2 lakh or more.
It remains to be seen if the Ministry of Women and Child development would take adequate action against the publication.
JKR had added a disclaimer in the end of the article that it didn’t endorse the views of some ‘award winning author’ who is supposed to have written it. But that can hardly be an excuse for carrying out a legal offence. They could have blackened the name and face of the accused while republishing that article, especially when they knew that the boy was under 18 years of age as per that article itself.