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No-Muslims policy: Journalist picked up over ‘fake RTI reply’

india Updated: Mar 16, 2016 07:35 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Ayush ministry

The Prime Minister engages in breathing exercises during last year’s World Yoga Day.(HT File Photo)

The police on Tuesday evening picked up journalist Pushp Sharma to question him in connection with an RTI reply he claimed to have received from the ministry of Ayush. Police sources said a case has been registered.

In the weekly newspaper Mili Gazette, Sharma had published a RTI report suggesting that the government adopted a policy of not hiring any Muslim candidates as yoga trainers.

The report claimed the government in its reply said that though 711 Muslim candidates had applied for short-term assignment of trainers and teachers for the World Yoga Day in 2015, ‘no Muslim candidate was invited, selected or sent abroad as per government policy.’

Read | Ayush minister rejects RTI response of no-Muslim hire policy

The Ayush ministry denied the report and accused the publication of publishing a fictitious reply as annexure-I. The ministry officials filed a complaint with police and accused Sharma of promoting disharmony and distrust with ulterior motives.

“We have not arrested him. We needed some papers for our investigation which is why we called him to the police station. The allegation is serious and if true, it is a crime. We are looking into the case,” said a police official.

In its clarification, the ministry had said that in September last year, it replied to an RTI query from Sharma, which was forwarded to the three agencies Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga, Central Council for Research in Yoga and Naturopathy and International Cooperation wing of the ministry.

“This is a simple forwarding letter under section 6(3) of RTI Act and therefore does not contain any reply to the queries. The same forwarding letter of the ministry has been used by a section of the media in this matter, but with a non-existent, fictitious “ANNEXURE- I”, (which has never been issued by the ministry).”

It said the reply published by Sharma was fabricated.