Press Statements

Journalist arrested in Ayush Ministry no Yoga jobs to Muslims RTI case


New Delhi, 14 May, 2016: Senior investigative journalist, Pushp Sharma, was arrested here this morning by the Delhi Police. He will be presented at Saket Court at 2:30 pm today according to the investigating officer, Sanjiv Mandal.

Sharma is accused of “fabricating” an RTI reply in which the Ayush Ministry says that it does not recruit Muslims for jobs. The journalist has stood his ground that that was the reply he received from the said ministry in reply to an RTI application. The said report was published in the Milli Gazette issue of 16-31 March this year and had created a worldwide sensation. Subsequently Pushp Sharma was interrogated for days by the Kotla Mubarakpur police station here. He was later let off after submitting all original RTI papers and signing an undertaking that he will not leave Delhi or India without the prior permission of the police while investigations were on. Later, Kotla Mubarakpur police also questioned the chief editor of the newsmagazine, Dr Zafarul-Islam Khan, on 11 April under Section 161 (i.e., as a witness).

It is worth mentioning here that the Press Council of India (PCI) too has taken suo moto notice of the reports published in the media and has initiated a case against the news magazine for publishing a “fabricated” news item.

Meanwhile the Ayush Ministry has failed to send any rebuttal to the newsmagazine which asserted in its next issue that it is ready to publish the Ministry’s version when and if received. Morevoer, the Ayush Ministry has brushed aside requests by mediapersons to come clean and say how many Muslims it has recruited in the near past.

Dr Zafarul-Islam Khan, chief editor of the Milli Gazette said the Ayush Ministry FIR against the journalist and the Press Council of India’s suo moto action are clear attempts to stifle the freedom of the press. He said, while the Ayush Ministry was quick to file a complaint with the police, it failed to make any contact in any manner with the newsmagazine. Moreover, the PCI, instead of protecting journalists and media publications, seems to be taking the side of the government.



Related readings: “We don’t recruit Muslims”: Modi govt’s Ayush Ministry   AYUSH Ministry Claim is Wrong, Says Journalist Who Filed Yoga RTI   AYUSH claims 'Muslim-Yoga policy' is fabricated; have proof, says Pushp Sharma   RTI responses to Pushp Sharma from Ayush Ministry   Ayush Ministry RTI Questions of Pushp Sharma   Clarification by Ayush Ministry regarding RTI of Shri Pushp Sharma   Ayush Ministry's reply is misleading   Pushp Sharma’s message to his readers after his temporary release   Ayush Yoga RTI Police investigation: What has irked them most in my story...