Dainik Bhaskar journo booked for report on ‘10 deaths enroute Chardham’ in Uttarakhand

The Uttarakhand police called the report ‘misleading’ even as Garhwal commissioner acknowledged the deaths.

WrittenBy:NL Team
Journalist Manmeet Rawat, the police statement and Dainik Bhaskar report's headline.

The Uttarakhand police has booked Manmeet Rawat, a journalist with Hindi daily Dainik Bhaskar,  over his May 15 report on the overwhelming crowd and the “death of 10 devotees in four days” enroute Chardham or the state’s four major pilgrimage sites – Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri. 

The police, in a statement posted on X, called the news “false” and “misleading”. It said the “police, armed forces and the government are putting efforts day and night to manage the crowd and the road jams” and that it had lodged an FIR against Rawat at the Uttarkashi police station “under relevant sections”. 

The statement further said: “Please do not try to lower the morale of the police and the administration by spreading such false propaganda and rumours. Going ahead, strict action will be taken against those spreading rumours and misinformation.” 

However, Garhwal commissioner reportedly accepted in a media interaction that 11 people had died at different dhams, Dainik Bhakar said in a note published on Thursday. It also said the reporter was booked under IPC sections 153 A and 505 despite the report being factual and “with evidence”. 

The newspaper said it had also reported on the Garhwal commissioner’s statement and the Uttarakhand government announcing “a string of measures to improve the situation and aid devotees”. 

On May 15, the newspaper had published a report titled “Chardham: The system was overwhelmed by the crowd of devotees... There was a jam of 45 km, people got stuck for 25 hours, 10 people died while waiting for darshan”. 

It said in Hindi: “Chardham ka plan bana rahein hain toh filhaal taal dein kyunki Gangotri aur Yamunotri mein record tod bheed ke chalte sarkari vyavasthaein dhvasth ho chuki hain (If you are planning for Chardham, postpone it for now because due to record breaking crowd in Gangotri and Yamunotri, the government arrangements have collapsed).”

The report detailed that more than 1.30 lakh pilgrims had arrived in the state to visit the temples over four days – a footfall recorded in 16 days last year. It said of the 10 pilgrims who died on the way to the temples, four were from Madhya Pradesh, two from Gujarat and one each from Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Goa and Uttar Pradesh.

The newspaper also carried detailed accounts of people who spent the night on the road in “shivering cold” due to road blocks and said there was a “danger of landslides, and no food or water”.   

A follow-up report said the roads to Gangotri and Yamunotri remained jammed, with the traffic moving over five to six hours. 

Complaining about the media is easy. Why not do something to make it better? We have an offer to help you subscribe to Newslaundry today.

Also see
article imageRajasthan polls: Dainik Bhaskar publishes, and swiftly deletes, story on ‘red diary’
article imageDainik Bhaskar Digital, reporter booked as sting operation alleges fraud ring
article imageHow Dainik Jagran manufactured a ‘surgical strike’ by the Indian army in PoK


We take comments from subscribers only!  Subscribe now to post comments! 
Already a subscriber?  Login

You may also like