Legal notice served to Times of India for falsely portraying Veda Pathshalas as ‘Human Trafficking centres’

Advocate Vibhor Anand has served a legal notice to Times of India (TOI) for hurting the sentiments of Hindus by portraying ‘Veda Pathshalas’ as Human Trafficking centres. After serving the notice, Advocate Anand has asked Times of India to tender an apology, failing which they would have to face legal consequences:

We had reported on Monday how TOI had carried a story about a minor victim of human trafficking being rescued after he escaped from a Madrasa in Chennai. The newspaper though had made matters contentious after titling the story as, “11-year-old boy’s rescue reveals ‘trafficking’ prevalent at madrasas, Veda Pathshalas”.

Even though the article alleged Veda Pathshalas to be human trafficking centres, its content failed to provide any proof to back the allegation, leading many to draw the conclusion that the Pathshalas were force fitted into the story to balance things out.

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Following a furore on Social Media, TOI proceeded to quietly change the headline to delete the Veda Pathshala reference but failed to provide any apology for its mistake.

Now the legal notice has taken note of the matter and has made both TOI Editor Chennai and Ekatha Ann John (who wrote the article) as defendants in the notice. The notice served on the behalf of Madhavi Dhyani states that the client is committed to taking action against anyone disrespecting the Hindu religion.

After detailing the whole episode, the notice observed that media organisations have time and again published controversial articles and headlines with the sole intention of maligning Hinduism. The notice also categorised the article’s efforts as unlawful and criminal.

One such example of painting a false picture was reported by us when news headlines were published with accompanying picture depicting Hindu symbols, claiming that a ‘tantrik’ or priest was involved in some crime, while the report was actually about perpetrators belonging to other religions.

After calling Veda Pathshalas as pious institutions which impart Vedic knowledge, the notice described the TOI article as, “extremely derogatory, defamatory and insulting to Hindus”. It also claimed that the editor had published the article while being fully aware of its potential to hurt the sentiments of Hindu.

The notice thereby claimed that this act of TOI is punishable by sections 153, 153A, 295A and 505(2) of the IPC which can draw a fine and potential imprisonment of up to three years.

Therefore the notice asked the accused parties to tender an unconditional apology and withdraw the article in question. It also warned that if the newspaper failed to do so within 15 days, legal action would be initiated against it, at its own risk, cost and consequences.

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