Journalist who reported Ayush ministry denied Muslims jobs arrested

By PTI via PTI published on May 14, 2016

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Pushp Sharma, the journalist accused of forging an RTI reply that led to news reports that the Ayush ministry was discriminating against Muslims, was arrested and presented before a court in Delhi.

Sharma had claimed that the Ayush ministry had replied to his Right to Information application and admitted that it didn’t recruit Muslims as yoga trainers.

“Sharma has been arrested under charges of cheating, forgery and promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, etc in connection with a case registered a Kotla Mubarakpur police station,” said additional deputy commissioner of police (south) Nupur Prasad on Saturday.

Sharma, a resident of Dayanand colony in southeast Delhi, was arrested on Friday evening after three days of questioning, police said.

In March, he was charged by the police after his report ‘We don’t recruit Muslims: Modi govt’s Ayush ministry’ appeared in Milli Gazette, a fortnightly English language newspaper.

Zafarul-Islam Khan, chief editor of Milli Gazette, protested Sharma’s arrest. “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,” said Khan.

“While the Ayush ministry was quick to file a complaint with the police, it failed to make any contact in any manner with the news magazine. Moreover, the PCI, instead of protecting journalists and media publications, seems to be taking the side of the government,” he alleged, referring to media watchdog Press Council of India.

The ministry had earlier condemned the “misreporting” which it claimed was aimed at causing a “chasm” between different sections of society and “promoting disharmony and mistrust with ulterior motives”.

Sharma had said he had asked the AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy) ministry about Muslim teachers and trainers for foreign assignments during the World Yoga Day in 2015 and the ministry responded that it don’t recruit Muslims

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