The journalist, identified as Manish Soni, was booked for allegedly using explicit and derogatory language on Wednesday, said police. (HT Photo)
The journalist, identified as Manish Soni, was booked for allegedly using explicit and derogatory language on Wednesday, said police. (HT Photo)

On Congress leader’s complaint, Chhattisgarh police file FIR against scribe

The journalist, identified as Manish Soni, denying the charges, claimed that the action against him was taken with a malafide intention and the video on the basis of which the FIR was registered was ‘edited’ by some other people.
Hindustan Times, Raipur | By Ritesh Mishra
UPDATED ON OCT 22, 2020 06:06 PM IST

The Chhattisgarh police filed an FIR against a local video journalist in Ambikapur district after he reported the plight of some farmers whose paddy crops were ruined in an anti-encroachment drive by the municipal corporation.

The journalist, identified as Manish Soni, was booked for allegedly using explicit and derogatory language on Wednesday, said police.

The case was registered on the complaint of Congress Mayor of Ambikapur Ajay Tirki.

However, Soni, while denying the charges, claimed that the action against him was taken with a malafide intention and the video on the basis of which the FIR was registered was ‘edited’ by some other people. “The police have not done any primary investigation and registered a case against me,” Soni alleged.

Notably, last month Soni was booked in another case for allegedly putting up an objectionable post over an encounter between security forces and Maoists.

“The accused has made a video which was circulated in social media, in which derogatory language and abuses were hurled. We have registered a case under 294 Indian Penal Code and relevant sections of the IT Act and started investigation,” Inspector General of Police ( Surguja ) Ratanlal Dangi told Hindustan Times.

The IG further said that if the accused is claiming that the video, which was circulated, was not made by him, he can submit the original video to the police.

“If he submits the original video which he made, we will investigate it forensically and the case will be taken back,” the IG added.

Soni talking to HT said that he had done a story about an anti-encroachment drive by the municipal corporation for news agencies and was taken up by various channels of the country.

“The story was covered by other news channels due to which the municipal corporation went against me. Second, the affected farmers have also lodged a written complaint against the employees of Municipal Corporation in Gandhi Nagar police station, claiming that no notices were served before the anti-encroachment drive. Hence, some people were not happy with my news report and I believe that they have distorted my video and made a meme. On the basis of that distorted video, police have registered a case without any primary investigation,” said Soni.

Reacting to the allegations of Soni that he was framed, Mayor Tirki said, “I was not aware that the video was edited or original. The video has abusive content and it was circulated everywhere on social media. If the video was edited, why did Soni not complain that his video was distorted and is being circulated?”

Earlier this month, a Bastar-based journalist, Kamal Shukla, was allegedly beaten by the Congress leader in Kanker and journalists across the state protested.

Shukla went on hunger strike demanding removal of Superintendent of Police and Collector. Later, the state government removed a station house officer (SHO) for negligence.

The state unit of the BJP expressed concerns over the government targeting the journalists of the state.

“Congress government and its party leaders are continuously harassing the journalists in the state. In the recent Kamal Shukla incident, we have seen how the Congress leader has beaten a senior journalist. They can never accept criticism and try to pressurise the media in the state. This is the death of democracy,” said senior leader and BJP spokesperson Sachhinand Upsane.

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