The Varanasi police have booked Scroll.in Executive editor, Supriya Sharma under defamation and sections of SC/ST act after a Dalit woman named Mala Devi filed a complaint against her for misquoting her story in her article to show that she’s living in extreme poverty during the lockdown in the village adopted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The @varanasipolice has booked senior journalist @sharmasupriya of @scroll_in on charges like defamation and sections of the SC / ST act after a complaint by a woman who was a case study in a recent story filed by Supriya from a village adopted by PM Modi in the east UP city…. pic.twitter.com/HOliJDNsTb— Alok Pandey (@alok_pandey) June 18, 2020
The complainant Mala Devi alleged that her story was misreported by the journalist and presented as if she(Mala Devi) was facing extreme poverty and hunger which was actually not the case. The woman in her complaint revealed that she is working as a Safai Karmachari in the Municipal corporation, Varanasi. Her mother was working in the Municipal corporation and is currently getting a pension. She described that woman journalist Supriya Sharma and others had met her asked her about the lockdown.
FIR filed against Executive Editor of Scroll, Supriya Sharma. Varanasi District Police filed an FIR under Sections 269, 501 of IPC along with Section 3 of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 @scroll_in @sharmasupriya pic.twitter.com/NHahhPQdla— Bar & Bench (@barandbench) June 18, 2020
In the complaint, the woman has stated that she was facing no problem during the lockdown. She has food for her and her family to eat. Recently, she learned that Supriya Sharma had made false claims about her in her report. She alleged that Supriya Sharma falsely mentioned in her report that the Dalit woman works as a domestic worker and she slept after having a cup of tea and a chapati.
Mala Devi is reportedly a resident of Domari village in Varanasi constituency and her village has been adopted by PM Modi under the Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojna.
The woman has alleged that the Scroll Journalist has made fun of her poverty and caste by writing such malicious claims about her which has hurt her mentally and damaged her reputation in society.
Supriya Sharma mentioned in her report that the Dalit woman was struggling for food
The Executive editor of the Scroll.in, Supriya Sharma had mentioned in her article that the aforementioned woman Mala Devi, who is a single mother and is survived by six people in her family works as a domestic worker. She has mentioned that the woman made fugitive trips to Varanasi in search of work after her employers stopped paying her so that she can earn and buy food for her family. She quoted her as saying, “We would sleep on chai and roti, sometimes not even that.”
The Scroll article, dated 08 June, had claimed that the lockdown has brought poverty and starvation for the poor in the Prime Minister’s own constituency and the government’s schemes are not being delivered on ground level.
Scroll defends their article
The Scroll has acknowledged the FIRs registered against Sharma and stated that they stand by what Sharma had reported. They have claimed that while speaking to them, Mala Devi had stated that she is a domestic worker and is currently struggling for food. However, the portal has not shared any audio or video evidence of the woman’s statement.