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Journalist booked for recording video of salt-roti midday meal in UP

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Lucknow, Sept 02: A case has been registered against a journalist and a village-head representative for allegedly doing "despicable work" of maligning the Uttar Pradesh government by recording a video of schoolchildren being served salt and roti as their midday meal.

Journalist booked for recording video of salt-roti midday meal in UP

The FIR stated that the village head's representative, Rajkumar Pal, was aware that only rotis were cooked and vegetable was not cooked in the Siyur Primary School in Jamalpur block of Mirzapur district.

But "instead of arranging it", Pal called journalist Pawan Kumar Jaiswal, who works in the print media, and "pressed him to run it" in the electronic media, according to the complaint lodged on Saturday by Mirzapur block education officer Prem Shankar Ram at the Ahraura police station.

Jaiswal and Pal have been booked under sections 120B (criminal conspiracy), 186 (obstructing public servant in discharging duty), 193 (false evidence) and 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code, a senior police officer said.

Some unnamed persons are also mentioned in the first information report. According to the complaint, Jaiswal and Pal conspired and deliberately made the video in a well-planned manner and did "despicable work" of maligning the image of the state government. "The journalist shot the video on his mobile and shared it to an electronic media agency," it said.

Jaiswal, however, denied the allegations. "This is against journalism. You can see the news and verify it," he told a television channel. "Nothing is being created. I had informed everything (to officials)."

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The video of students of the being served salt and roti in their midday meal had gone viral on social media on August 22, triggering outrage and leading to the suspension of two teachers.

Explained how he got the information and shot the video, the journalist said: "I write for a New Delhi newspaper. I got information about the school that there were discrepancies in the midday meal served to students. They were sometimes given salt, roti or salt, rice."

Jaiswal said he got a call from someone on August 22, following which he reached the school for news and also informed additional basic education officer Brijesh Kumar Singh about the visit.

"I shot the first video at 12.07 pm and informed my colleagues, who informed the DM," he said.

"The DM did a probe even before the news was run and suspended many."

"Later, the matter became high profile. To save themselves, a number of cases have been lodged against me," he said.

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As per norms under the flagship nutrition scheme, pulses, rice, rotis, vegetables, with fruit and milk on certain days, are to be served to school-going children to ensure necessary nutrition to them.

The midday-meal scheme is designed to provide a minimum of 450 calories per child per day, which should also include at least 12 grams of protein each day. These meals should be served to each child at least 200 days a year.

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