New Delhi: Senior journalist and news anchor Rajdeep Sardesai has been taken off air for two weeks and a month’s salary was deducted by the India Today group for his tweet that claimed a farmer was shot dead in police firing during the tractor rally on 26 January, ThePrint has learnt.
In the now-deleted tweet, Sardesai had said: “One person, 45-year-old Navneet, killed allegedly in police firing at ITO. Farmers tell me: the ‘sacrifice’ will not go in vain.”
He posted (and later deleted) this tweet at such a sensitive time? Unbelievable pic.twitter.com/ZLUlbl54Ug
— Swati Goel Sharma (@swati_gs) January 26, 2021
Besides the tweet, Sardesai, while speaking to another India Today reporter from the ground, said on his show the deceased, Navneet Singh, would become a symbol for the agitating farmers and they would not leave till they got “justice for Navneet”.
Sardesai, who is also the consulting editor of India Today, retracted his tweet on the same day and subsequently tweeted a video, saying: “While the farm protestors claim that the deceased Navneet Singh was shot at by Delhi Police while on a tractor, this video clearly shows that the tractor overturned while trying to break the police barricades. The farm protestors allegations don’t stand. Post mortem awaited.”
While the farm protestors claim that the deceased Navneet Singh was shot at by Delhi police while on a tractor, this video clearly shows that the tractor overturned while trying to break the police barricades. The farm protestors allegations don’t stand. Post mortem awaited.👇 pic.twitter.com/JnuU05psgR
— Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) January 26, 2021
He also said: “…the police have shown great restraint despite grave provocation by the farm protestors in ITO/Red Fort area: they fired tear gas, no evidence of bullets fired although farm protestors claimed otherwise. Amidst claims and counter claims, the police action needs to be commended.”
The Delhi Police, meanwhile, reportedly released a video showing Singh speeding and running over barricades with his tractor, resulting in the vehicle overturning.
A post-mortem report revealed that the protester died due to a “traumatic injury above the left side of his skull from where his brain started oozing out”.
ThePrint reached Sardesai via WhatsApp for a comment, but he declined to speak on the matter.
When ThePrint reached The India Today group, an email from their corporate communication desk said: “Disciplinary action for breach of our code of conduct is a confidential matter and we would like to refrain from commenting on this.”
Following the development, BJP leader Amit Malviya said Sardesai should have been fired as he is a “repeat offender”.
He is a repeat offender, should have been sacked! https://t.co/VNxUfHbI2r
— Amit Malviya (@amitmalviya) January 28, 2021
Delhi BJP leader Kapil Mishra Wednesday tweeted, “Rajdeep has lied… his lies have been exposed through police and video. Rajdeep was inciting attack on Delhi Police.”
राजदीप सरदेसाई ने झूठ बोला
राजदीप ने कहा कि उसने खुद देखा नवनीत के सिर पर गोली लगी थी
पोस्टमार्टम और वीडियो में राजदीप के झूठ का पर्दाफाश
— Kapil Mishra (@KapilMishra_IND) January 27, 2021
The hashtag #ArrestRajdeepNow also started trending on Twitter.
No bullet injury, farmer died after tractor overturned, says UP Police as per postmortem.
— khemchand sharma #Brajwasi #RadheRadhe (@SharmaKhemchand) January 28, 2021
— Gaurav Goel (@goelgauravbjp) January 28, 2021
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