The senior anchor had tweeted that a farmer, who died during the January 26 rally, was allegedly shot by the police and retracted it later.

Rajdeep Sardesai in a blue shirt, sitting on a chairFacebook
news Media Thursday, January 28, 2021 - 15:39

Senior anchor and Consulting Editor of India Today Rajdeep Sardesai has been taken off the air for two weeks for claiming that a farmer’s death during the January 26 Tractor rally held in Delhi was due to police firing, BestMediaInfo reported. The channel has also deducted a month’s salary from him.

Rajdeep 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. While the Delhi police has maintained that the farmer died in an accident that occured 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 India Today and the police to act against him.

Rajdeep Sardesai, after the police released the video, retracted his statement on his earlier tweet. In his tweet after the video, 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.

Rajdeep Sardesai 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.

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