New Delhi: Rajdeep Sardesai, senior news anchor and consulting editor of India Today, has been taken off the air for two weeks over his claims about a farmer’s death during the Republic Day Tractor Rally in Delhi, reported various media platforms. The channel has also deducted one month’s salary from him.Also Read - Congress Leader Ghulam Nabi Azad To Be Conferred With Padma Bhushan
Sardesai had tweeted, “One person, 45-year-old Navneet, was killed allegedly in police firing at ITO. Farmers tell me: the ‘sacrifice’ will not go in vain,” on January 26. Also Read - Republic Day 2022: Olympian Neeraj Chopra Among This Year’s Param Vishisht Seva Medal Awardees
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While the Delhi Police has maintained that the farmer died in an accident that occurred after his tractor overturned, the other protesters had initially alleged that he had died in the police firing. The police later released a video, that showed the farmer losing control of the tractor and the vehicle overturning.
An India Today news clipping in which Rajdeep is seen having a conversation with another reporter about the farmer ‘being shot’ was also doing the rounds on social media, with several asking the channel and the police to act against him.
Rajdeep Sardesai, after the police released the video, retracted his statement on his earlier tweet. In a later tweet, he referred to the video and said that the tractor overturned while trying to break the barricades placed by the police and that the ‘the farm protestors’ allegations don’t stand’. However, several political leaders have demanded that an FIR be registered against Rajdeep for spreading misinformation.
Rajdeep has confirmed to The Wire that he has indeed been taken off air for two weeks and that his salary has been slashed for a month. He, however, refused to comment on the issue, as per the report.
On January 26, after about two months of sitting in protest against the three farm laws passed by the Parliament, the farmers took out a tractor rally from three points on the Delhi border, towards the capital city. Clashes soon broke out between the police and the protesters and the police has reportedly booked at least 37 farmer leaders in connection with the clashes. The police have also claimed that over 300 personnel were injured in the clashes.