Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani on Friday night sent out a “reminder” to the media to refrain from “causing panic, distress and undue fear” for the latter’s coverage of the widespread violence in parts of Haryana by supporters of the sect Dera Sacha Sauda. She also condemned the targeting of media persons and their assets and appealed for peace.
“Drawing attention of news channels to clause B of Fundamental Std of NBSA (News Broadcasting Standards Authority) refraining channels from causing panic, distress & undue fear,” Irani said, adding, “Attack on media, damage to property condemnable. Appeal to all to maintain peace.” She also said, “Kindly note this advisory has been given by the offices of the National Broadcasters Association.”
Several media personnel and their vans were attacked in the violence in Panchkula where a CBI court convicted 50-year-old self-styled godman Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh of rape in a 2002 case. Supporters of his sect had gathered in Panchkula and other parts of Haryana days before the verdict was to come out. As the verdict was delivered Friday afternoon, violence broke out in parts of the state, including Sirsa, Hisar, Mukhtsar, as well as parts of Punjab.
A train stationed at the Anand Vihar station was torched Friday evening in New Delhi. Railway officials are yet to confirm whether it is a case of arson. As a prohibitory measure, Section 144 has been imposed in Delhi, Noida and Ghaziabad as well as Nainital in Uttarakhand and parts of Haryana.
President Ram Nath Kovind has appealed to the people to maintain peace and order while Prime Minister Narendra Modi has condemned the violence and said that the situation is being watched.
(with PTI inputs)