19:57 GMT28 February 2020
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): Huge furore has erupted on social media after a journalist in India, who recently filmed a video alleging poor quality of free meals being provided to students at a primary school, was booked for purportedly hatching a “criminal conspiracy”.

    Indian journalist Pawan Jaiswal reported about the "apathy" of schoolchildren in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh who allegedly had their government sponsored meals in the form of bread with salt instead of vegetables last month.

    After he made his story public, state government authorities filed a case against him and Rajkumar Pal, a representative of the village head, under several sections of the Indian Penal Code, including charges of criminal conspiracy.

    Police said the case was registered following a complaint by an education officer over the matter.

    “Accused Rajkumar Pal has been taken into custody”, a senior police official told Indian media.

    Jaiswal, meanwhile, took to social media to highlight his grievance, prompting various Indian journalists to come forward in his support. He said he visited the school upon learning about the meal providing scheme, adding that he kept an education officer in the loop about his visit there.

    "After shooting the first video at around 12 pm, I called local reporters who spoke to the district magistrate. He went there and conducted an inquiry and suspended people”.

    The journalist further claimed that the case had been filed against him "because questions were being asked from these official people. This is an attack on journalism. Everyone is welcome to verify the facts of the story".

    Demanding a withdrawal of the charges levied against Jaiswal, various journalists across India have voiced their concerns over the matter.

    Several netizens outraged by the news have also come out in support of Jaiswal by saying he was performing his duty as a journalist.

    Others have, however, expressed suspicion over the report and slammed the accused journalist for peddling fake news.

    A video of students of the Siyur Primary School in the Mirzapur district being served bead and salt for their mid-day meal went viral in late August, sparking mass outrage and leading to the suspension of two teachers.

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