The Haryana Police on Friday arrested a Dainik Bhaskar journalist for a report in the Hindi newspaper where he had mistakenly said that a terror suspect was arrested in Ambala cantonment instead of a village in the same district, The Indian Express reported.
Dainik Bhaskar had carried the report on Thursday. The next day, it issued a correction about the location of the arrest.
However, the police alleged that the news report created “false alarm” among the people and “promoted enmity between classes”. They accused the reporter, Sunil Brar, of committing a “serious offence against public tranquillity”.
A first information report was also filed against Dainik Bhaskar news editor Sandeep Sharma. It was filed under sections 177 (furnishing false information), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace), 505 (2) (statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will) and 153 (wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot) of the Indian Penal Code, The Indian Express reported.
On Saturday, the police produced Brar before Judicial Magistrate Mukesh Kumar, who granted him bail.
The judge said: “After perusal of the remand paper and the copy of the newspaper produced by the Investigating Officer, this court is of the view that there was nothing (of the sort) which can create enmity between classes.”
Brar’s lawyer argued that the police had violated the rules of arrest.
The judge rejected this argument. “The police can arrest the accused as per procedure, if the arrest of the accused is required for investigation purpose,” he added.
Opposition parties in Haryana had criticised the Bharatiya Janata Party government for the journalist’s arrest, PTI reported. The Congress alleged that the elderly father of one of Brar’s colleagues had also been brought to the police station, The Indian Express reported.