To shoot the messenger rather than pay heed to the message comes instinctively to the authorities. Therefore, the video-journalist being hauled up for exposing corruption in the mid-day meal scheme in a school in Mirzapur, UP, does not surprise.
Against the official allotment for a wholesale and freshly-cooked meal, school children were being fed with rotis and salt alone. The district administration and the school authorities joined hands to cry conspiracy when the video was aired on the social media.
Promptly an FIR was lodged against the journalist, alleging a conspiracy to defame the school and the state government. Until the State Education Minister intervened, the police did not relent in pursuing the journalist.
An inquiry revealed that the report of children being given rotis and salt for lunch was factually correct. Quite clearly, school authorities in collusion with junior village and circle–level officers were diverting funds meant for the midday-meal scheme into their own pockets.
Corruption of this nature is prevalent in rural schools throughout the country. But thanks to the availability of modern tools of communications, including the ubiquitous cell phones, it is now easy for citizens aware of their rights to expose it.
The journalist in question ought to be commended by the State government for exposing corruption which cheats little children of their right to a wholesome meal. And those who initiated the FIR must be penalized forthwith.