Uttar Pradesh govt files case against journalist for video of children eating salt, roti in mid-day meal; says purpose was to 'malign'

As per Centre's mid-day meal scheme is design, it should provide a minimum of 450 calories to each child everyday, include at least 12 grams of protein

FP Staff September 02, 2019 15:43:12 IST
Uttar Pradesh govt files case against journalist for video of children eating salt, roti in mid-day meal; says purpose was to 'malign'
  • The FIR was lodged on Saturday on the complaint of Mirzapur block education officer Prem Shankar Ram at the Ahiraura police station in the district

  • According to the complaint, Jaiswal and Pal conspired and 'deliberately' made the video in a well-planned manner and did

  • The case against the journalist is a 'grim' reminder of the rising trend of targeting the professionals

The Uttar Pradesh Police has registered a case against the journalist who released a video of students in the state's Mirzapur district eating salt with roti as their mid-day meal last week, and accused him of "maligning the image" of the Yogi Adiyanath-led state government.

Journalist Pawan Kumar Jaiswal, village-head representative Rajkumar Pal, and other unidentified people have been booked under sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) pertaining to criminal conspiracy, obstructing public servant in discharging duty, false evidence, and cheating reports said.

The FIR was lodged on Saturday on the complaint of Mirzapur block education officer Prem Shankar Ram at the Ahiraura police station in the district. According to the complaint, Jaiswal and Pal conspired and "deliberately" made the video in a well-planned manner and did "despicable work" of maligning the image of the Uttar Pradesh government.

The FIR also states that Pal was aware that only rotis were cooked and vegetable was not cooked in the school, but "instead of arranging it", he called the journalist, who works in print media and "pressed him to run it" in electronic media. "The journalist shot the video on his mobile and shared it to an electronic media agency," it said.

The video of students of the Siyur Primary School in Jamalpur block of Mirzapur district being served salt and roti in their midday meal had gone viral on social media on 22 August, triggering outrage and leading to the suspension of two teachers.

As reported by NDTV, about 100 students from classes one to eight were sitting on the school corridor and eating roti with salt, in the government school. The mid-day meal scheme is the Centre's flagship by the central government which is to provide lunch and proper nutrition to the poor of children, who study in government schools across the country.

A day after the video was released, Anurag Patel, a government officer in Mirzapur said, "I ordered an inquiry and the incident was found to be true. Prima facie, it is the fault of the teacher-in-charge of the school and the supervisor at the gram panchayat. Both have been suspended," while speaking to NDTV.

The case against the journalist is a "grim" reminder of the rising trend of targeting the professionals. Journalists in Uttar Pradesh's Noida, Varanasi and Shamli have been previously targeted by state administration for various reasons, noted News18.

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi took to Twitter after the video of the students eating roti and salt was released and criticised the state government. She said, "Students are being served salt and rotis in mid-day meals in a school in Mirzapur. This is the state of affairs of BJP government in Uttar Pradesh. The facilities provided by the government are becoming poor and such treatment towards children is condemnable."

NDTV quoted a parent of the school as telling Jaiswal, "Things are bad here. Sometimes, they feed the children salt and rotis.. sometimes salt and rice. When milk comes here on rare occasions, most of it is never distributed. Bananas are never distributed. It has been like this for over a year now".

As per norms under the flagship nutrition scheme, pulses, rice, rotis, vegetables, with fruits and milk on certain days, are to be served to school-going children to ensure necessary nutrition to them. Centre's mid-day meal scheme design should provide a minimum of 450 calories to each child every day, include at least 12 grams of protein and such meals should be served to each child in the government schools at least 200 days in a year.

With inputs from agencies

Updated Date:

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