Bengaluru: An FIR has been filed against a prominent Hindi news channel and its Consulting Editor over allegations of disseminating misleading information concerning a government subsidy program, Bengaluru Police said on Wednesday.
According to the complaint filed, the consulting editor of Aaj Tak, Sudhir Chaudhary, during his television program featured an advertisement from the Karnataka Minorities Development Corporation(KMDC).
The advertisement promised subsidies for the acquisition of commercial vehicles for economically disadvantaged individuals belonging to religious minority groups. Chaudhary alleged that the scheme exhibited discriminatory practices by excluding Hindus, without acknowledging that individuals from Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST), and Backward Classes (BC) could access similar benefits through other government agencies dedicated to these communities, police said.
The complaint was filed by Shivakumar, assistant administrator of the KMDC, at the Seshadri Puram police station in the city. Based on the complaint a First Information Report (FIR) was registered under sections 505 (Statements conducing to public mischief) and 153 A (Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence) of the Indian Penal Code, police said.
In the show, Chaudhary alleged that the subsidies were being provided to only religious minorities in Karnataka and not for Hindus, the FIR said. “The show alleged that the scheme meted injustice to poor Hindus in the state” and “conspired to disturb communal harmony in the state,” according to the FIR.
KMDC also issued a statement to clarify the details of the subsidy scheme and accused the news channel of distorting the facts. According to KMDC, the scheme provided a 50% subsidy or up to ₹3,00,000 to unemployed people for the purchase of autorickshaws, goods vehicles, and taxis, enabling them to become self-employed. Additionally, similar schemes had been implemented by the Devaraj Urs Development Corporation, Dr BR Ambedkar Development Corporation, Valmiki Development Corporation, and Adi Jambhava Development Corporation.
The statement emphasised that these schemes were not exclusive to the minority community but were also accessible to backward classes, scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, and unemployed youngsters from the Hindu community.
“These schemes were not only for the minority community but also for backward classes, scheduled castes, and scheduled tribes. It was also available for the Hindu community’s unemployed youths. These schemes were not implemented by the incumbent Congress government but by the previous BJP government,” the statement said.
“But the news channel twisted this news, saying, that it had been meant only for the minorities in general and the Muslims in particular thereby doing injustice to the Hindus. This news was nothing but false and malicious. It aimed at whipping up the communal feelings in the society,” the statement alleged.
In response to the FIR, Choudhary, declared his readiness to contest the allegations in court. Choudhary expressed his concerns on social media, saying, “I have received information about an FIR filed against me by the Congress government in Karnataka. The question is, why an FIR? Moreover, it includes non-bailable sections, implying the possibility of arrest. My query was regarding the exclusion of the Hindu community from the self-reliant Sarathi scheme. I am prepared for this battle as well. We will meet in court.”
Following the news report’s airing, Karnataka minister of information technology and biotechnology, Priyank Kharge, accused the news anchor of deliberately spreading misinformation regarding government schemes. “The anchor of @aajtak is deliberately spreading misinformation on government schemes which was first started by BJP MPs & is being amplified by sections of the media. This is deliberate & malicious, Govt will be taking necessary legal action,” he posted on X.
source by : Hindustan times
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