The Hindi daily newspaper Dainik Bhaskar has come under the scanner for a picture it published in its Ujjain edition on May 5, where it showed a young girl collecting scattered grains from the road under a scorching sun. The description attached to the picture read that the mother of 10-year-old poor Aarti has asked her to pick up the grains from the road so that her family could be fed for the next one or two days. Dainik Bhaskar now seems to be in trouble because of the picture.
An NGO named YUVA Ujjain, based in Madhya Pradesh’s Ujjain city has taken to social media to attack the Hindi daily for misleading people by not only making a 10-year-old girl pick up grains from the road for a photo-op but also attributing incorrect information to it.
YUVA Ujjain approached the family and recorded Aarti and her mother’s statements. Based on their statements the NGO claimed that the photographer had deliberately scattered the grains and asked the girl to pose for his camera. It said that the mother of the young girl refused to have asked Aarti to go out on the road in the middle of the afternoon to collect the scattered grains.
NGO shot video evidence to claim Dainik Bhaskar staged the act
In the video evidence recorded by the NGO the mother says that in order to make a sensational story which would garner viewership for his publication, the photographer purposely scattered the grains on the road and asked Aarti to pick it up. Aarti also confirmed that she picked up the grains and fed it to her goats, unlike what the report claimed.
The caption written below the picture had claimed that Aarti told the photographer that when a cart full of the wheat grains was passing through the road, a small number of grains slipped from the cart and scattered on the road. When Aarti informed her mother about the same, she asked her to quickly collect the grains in a packet which she would then grind and make chapattis for Aarti’s siblings, read the report published in Dainik Bhaskar.
OpIndia gets in touch with Dainik Bhaskar’s editor
When OpIndia contacted the editor of Dainik Bhaskar, Ujjain edition, Kapil Bhatnagar, he refused to acknowledge the allegation levelled at his newspaper. Bhatnagar said: “It is possible that Aarti’s mother had been asked to say what she had. I cannot comment until we investigate that matter. We have with us pictures taken from various angles and the CCTV footage. Only after a thorough investigation can we come to any conclusion”. In addition to this, Bhatnagar said that he was an Indian, not a foreign journalist, who would depict India as a poor country. We are responsible citizens of the country and would not do anything irrational, said the editor.
Bhatnagar further justified that “we only published the picture after confirming with the photographer. The content published was only after the photographer’s consent. Neither did we tamper with the photograph nor the content, said Bhatnagar.
The NGO castigated the publication saying that such behaviour does not befit a robust publication like Dainik Bhaskar. They said that instead of collecting millions of rupees as donations by depicting the sorrowful state the country with heartbreaking pictures like these, a flourishing media house like Dainik Bhaskar should have instead come forward and helped Aarti’s family.
Saying this, the NGO announced that henceforth the NGO would be taking care of Aarti’s family. They also said that Dainik Bhaskar had not only showed them in bad light but discredited all other organisations which were working relentlessly in Ujjain to make sure that no one sleeps hungry amidst the coronavirus pandemic.