Journalist arrested, another booked for publishing ‘incorrect place’ of arrest of terrorist



AMBALA: A journalist was arrested and another was booked at Ambala Cantonment here for allegedly mentioning “incorrect place” of arrest of a suspected terrorist in a news report, prompting the opposition to attack the Haryana government for “suppressing” freedom of press.

An FIR was registered against reporter Sunil Brar and news editor Sandeep Sharma of Dainik Bhaskar on Thursday under different sections of the IPC, police said, adding that Brar was taken into custody on Friday.

Efforts are on to nab Sharma, they said. A suspected terrorist was arrested by the Punjab Police on Wednesday over an alleged tiffin bomb plot from Mardon Sahib village of Ambala.

The newspaper headline on the following day stated “Punjab police claims arrest of terrorist at Cantt from near IOC depot’. However, the newspaper published a correction the next day on the location from where the suspected terrorist was arrested. SHO Ambala Cantt Vijay Kumar said the case against the journalists was registered as they published the news without any authentication.

Journalists Sunil Brar and Sandeep Sharma have created fear among the masses by publishing false news, he added.

The duo has been booked under IPC sections 153 (wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot), 177 (furnishing false information), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace) and 505 (2) (statement creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill will between classes), police said.

Meanwhile, Brar was on Saturday produced in the court of Duty Magistrate Mukesh Kumar. The court granted him bail on furnishing a personal bond of Rs 50,000.

Latching onto the issue, the opposition parties, including the Congress, INLD, Haryana Democratic Front and BSP, criticised the action taken against the media persons.

Senior Congress leader Rohit Jain said the arrest was made against the direction of Supreme court. He said the police had not issued any prior notice to the journalist before arresting him.

Chitra Sarwara, a senior leader of the Haryana Democratic Front, and BSP leader Prakash Bharti alleged the police had violated the norms of democracy. It is an attack on the freedom of press, they said.

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