A journalist from Telangana has made a serious allegation of harassment by the ruling party MLA, for the former reporting a lockdown violation during the celebration of the MLA's birthday. The journalist from a Telegu news channel alleged that his under-construction house has been demolished for reporting the lockdown violation by the local MLA in Narayankhed at his birthday celebration party.
"I reported recently on MLA celebrating his birthday with 500 persons present at the venue. There was no social distance maintained over there and none of them was wearing masks. As I reported the incident, I had to face several consequences. They demolished my under-construction house. I am seeking justice for this incident," the journalist said.
On April 7, Narayankhed MLA M. Bhupal Reddy cut a 60-kg cake and celebrated his birthday in a private hall violating lockdown norms. Over 500 people reportedly took part in the birthday celebrations.
The ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) spokesperson Krishank, speaking to ANI said, "It is true that a news story was done on Narayankhed MLA but the demolition of an under-construction house of the said journalist was done by the municipal authorities. It was carried out because the norms were violated and the constructed was started without taking proper permission. How can we relate both these incidents?"
While the journalist has maintained that he was wasn’t even notified by the authorities of building violations before demolishing his under-construction house.
While taking a dig and dragging the BJP and Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government into the conversation, Krishank added, "Telangana government is not like Yogi Adityanath government or any BJP state government which takes up political vendetta on journalists for writing news stories. A journalist has all the right to do his stories," he added.
Reacting on the incident, BJP MLC Ram Chander Rao, said, "When the reporters are reporting the violation of lockdown by the ruling party, they are being harassed. Yesterday, a flyover was inaugurated by State IT Minister KT Rama Rao. We welcome the inauguration but there was a violation of lockdown as he went there along with 50 people. On one side they violate the lockdown norms and on the other side, book opposition leaders in false cases and try to harass journalists. BJP condemns such an attitude of the state government."
Uttam Kumar Reddy, Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) President speaking to ANI said, "In Telangana, right from the Chief Minister level to the lowest level, there are attempts to curb the freedom of the press and suppress its voice. This relentless threatening of the press by the Chief Minister and his party leaders should stop. Otherwise, the Congress party in Telangana will take serious action."
Telangana High Court has issued notices to Narayankhed MLA and the State government officials in a PIL petition which sought action against the legislator for celebrating his birthday violating lockdown rules.
(With ANI inputs)