A journalist based in Tamil Nadu has been arrested for filing news reports, which showed doctors combating COVID-19 were not provided with food and personal protective equipment (PPE) kit by the government hospital in Coimbatore.
The Coimbatore police arrested Andrew Sam Raja Pandian, founder of a portal called SimpliCity on Thursday based on a complaint by an official of the Coimbatore Corporation.
The portal had detailed how doctors working in the Coimbatore Medical College Hospital had to go without food for long hours and were not given PPE that is needed for treating COVID-19 patients. Apparently, the news item was not unfounded since the dean of the hospital was transferred shortly thereafter.
The news portal had also filed another report how ration items were being diverted by employees of PDS shops and had published screenshots of SMS showing the ‘purchase’ of certain ration items in the accounts of people who had not purchased the same.
After the publication of the report, M. Sundararajan, Assistant Commissioner (Personal) of the Coimbatore Corporation, filed a complaint against the portal and its founder in a local police station saying the report was “false’ and ‘provocative’ and that it would cause unrest amongst doctors and rations shop employees. Following this Pandian was questioned and later arrested under Sections 188 (disobedience to order promulgated by public servant), and 505 (i) (statement conducing public mischief) of the IPC and Section 3 of the Epidemic Diseases Act. He was produced before a magistrate and remanded to judicial custody.