Azamgarh: The Azamgarh district magistrate on Monday ordered a probe into the arrest of a journalist allegedly after he took photographs of some children mopping the floor in their school.
Journalist Santosh Jaiswal was arrested on false charges of extortion and obstructing public servants from discharging their duty, alleged a fellow journalist Sudhir Singh, who, along with another journalist, requested district magistrate N.P. Singh to apprise him of the alleged illegal arrest.
“No injustice will be meted out to the journalist. We will look into the matter,” said Singh. The district magistrate also ordered a probe into the matter.
Local journalist Santosh Jaiswal was arrested here last week on Friday after he took photographs of school children, mopping the floor and called up the police to apprise them of the illegal practice by the school authorities, said Sudhir Singh.
Sudhir Singh said the police, responding to Jaiswal’s call, reached the school and took both the journalist and principal Radhey Shyam Yadav of the Oodpur primary school to the police station.
At the Phoolpur police station, the school principal lodged a complaint against Jaiswal based on which an FIR was registered against him and he was arrested, said Sudhir Singh.
The FIR No 237 registered on September 6, 2019, against the journalist quotes the school principal as saying that Jaiswal often visited the school and misbehaved with both male and female teachers and students and persuaded them to subscribe to the newspaper published by him.
In the FIR, Yadav said on the day of the incident, Jaiswal came to the school and ordered some school children to mop the floor to facilitate him to take their photographs.
At this, Yadav said, he objected to his act, following which he fled the school premises leaving his vehicle there and later demanded money from him.
Sudhir Singh, who also met the Azamgarh district magistrate along with other journalists to complain against Jaiswal’s arrest, refuted the charges against the arrested journalist.
This is the latest in a series of actions taken against journalists in Uttar Pradesh for doing their job. The state government has been accused of trying to intimidate the press. In another case, an FIR was registered against a journalist after he broke a story of school children being served only rice and salt as part of the mid-day meal.
The Mirzapur district magistrate accused Pawan Jaiswal of participating in a conspiracy to defame the Uttar Pradesh government. “When you are a print journalist, you could have clicked a picture. Why did you record a video,” DM Anurag Patel asked in a video.
“This is not how a story is done. If he is a print journalist, he should have taken a picture and published a story. But he was recording a video and telling people to come and be a part of the video. That is why we feel that he is also part of the conspiracy,” Patel said.
(With PTI inputs)