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Haryana: Journalist arrested for spreading misinformation, SC-ST Act invoked on complaint of BJP MLA’s son

The police detained the Fatehabad-based TV journalist Jaspal Singh after an FIR was lodged under Section 67 of the Information Technology Act, 2000, Sections 384 (extortion) and 500 (defamation) of the IPC and various sections of the SC/ST Act on the complaint of BJP MLA from Ratia Lakshman Napa’s son Sumit Kumar.

In Haryana, a Fatehabad-based journalist Jaspal Singh was arrested on charges of spreading false news to ‘defame’ a local BJP MLA Lakshman Napa, as well as violating the SC-ST act and the IT act. The arrest came after the son of the MLA filed a complaint against Singh, accusing him of intentionally spreading false information about his father.

Sumit Kumar, the son of Ratia BJP MLA had lodged a police complaint against Singh blaming him for defaming his father through various WhatsApp groups and other social media platforms like Facebook. Kumar alleged that Jaspal Singh had posted the news in various WhatsApp groups and Facebook regarding his father’s name appearing in a gambling case lodged on March 16.

Several journalist bodies on Sunday condemned Jaspal’s arrest. The journalist, Jaspal Singh, was produced before a court in Ratia on Sunday and was sent to judicial custody. Many journalists from Haryana met Fatehabad deputy commissioner Jagdish Sharma on Saturday and submitted a memorandum to him. In the memorandum, the journalists said Singh was picked from his home and called it an attack on journalism and an attempt to subdue independent voices.

The police detained the Fatehabad-based TV journalist Jaspal Singh after an FIR was lodged under Section 67 of the Information Technology Act, 2000, Sections 384 (extortion) and 500 (defamation) of the IPC and various sections of the SC/ST Act on the complaint of BJP MLA from Ratia Lakshman Napa’s son Sumit Kumar.

Kumar said in the FIR that one more journalist had allegedly posted erroneous things on a WhatsApp group adding ‘this journalist stated that they were not taking care of him’. The MLA’s son further alleged that “attempts were being made to defame their political image because Napa belongs to the Scheduled Caste community.

Journalists have termed the allegations false and have sought the withdrawal of the FIR. The national executive of the Indian Journalists Union (IJU), which met in Chandigarh on Saturday and Sunday, has also taken note of Singh’s arrest. IJU General Secretary and former president of Chandigarh Press Club Balwinder Singh said: “It is unfortunate that FIRs have been lodged against many journalists during the past few years. All such cases should be withdrawn without any delay.”

The charges against Singh under the SC-ST and IT acts have also been met with criticism. OpIndia has reported several cases where the SC-ST act has been used indiscriminately against people. Notably, the SC has also opined that a complaint cannot be registered under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act just because the complainant is a member of the SC/ST community. The offence in question must be directed towards the caste of the individual.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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