Kanishka Tiwari, a local investigative journalist, has been charged with trespassing for allegedly going onto BJP MLA Kedarnath Shukla’s relative’s property in the district of Sidhi in Madhya Pradesh. He runs a YouTube channel in the local Bagheli language with 1.4 lakh subscribers.
A recent news item in the Patrika Newspaper highlighted several inconsistencies in the way a nursing college was recognised. According to sources, a Sidhi nursing college was proposed to be built in Kusmi. Although no permanent structure has been built, the institution has opened an office at the city headquarters, 75 kilometres outside the city.
According to the rules, the nursing college must be no more than 50 kilometres from the district hospital. Without any facilities or employees, the college administration handled the admissions process and charging ₹5,000 rupees.
One of MLA Kedarnath Shukla’s family owns the building where the nursing college’s office is located.
“I had gone there to take the director’s point of view on the published report in Patrika,” Kaniska Tiwari explained. “I went to the college’s official address and had no notion that a hostel was located in the same building.” He further claimed that when he inquired about the Nursing College Director, he was abused and had his camera snatched.
According to the FIR, he trespassed into a hostel, assaulted the warden and took footage without authorisation. He was charged under sections 452, 323, 294, 506, and 34 of the IPC 1860.
“I have audio proof in which the Director of the Nursing College stated that Kedarnath Shukla compelled him to file a case against me,” Kanish Tiwari claimed. “I will testify in court.”
In response to The Quint’s question about allegations made against Kedarnath, he said, “Kaniska Tiwari koi patrakaar thodi h. Vo kisi k ghar me ja k dalali karega, vasooli karega, blackmail karega (Kaniska Tiwari is not a journalist. He blackmails people and extorts money from them).”
He has done many news stories on drug smuggling in the city. He described how drugs are stocked and moved with the assistance of local cops in one of his investigative reports. In a news broadcast posted on Tiwari’s YouTube channel on 17 August, Villagers claimed that Jaiswal has relations with local police stations, leaders of ruling and opposition parties and that no one dares to take action against them.
On the same day, he spoke with a few villagers of Padkuri village in Madhya Pradesh’s Sidhi district. Villagers demonstrated to file a complaint against drug smuggler Jaiswal for harassing a teen. The 15-year-old child told Tiwari that Jaiswal and his guys had battered and electrocuted him, accusing him of stealing their drugs.
In a live report, Tiwari criticised the police and compared the city’s law and order to that of Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.
BJP MLA Kedarnath Shukla and Superintendent of Police Pankaj Kumawat had close contact with alleged drug smuggler Ragenvdra Singh, he disclosed in another piece in his drug smuggling series. He criticised MLA Kedarnath Shukla and SP Pankaj Kumawat for reportedly harbouring a suspected drug trafficker.
“I did a story about a drug smuggler,” Kaniska Tiwari explained. “The entire village was outraged by SP and Kedarnath Shukla’s apparent ties to drug traffickers. I gave everyone an opportunity to speak. I simply demonstrated why roughly 150 people demonstrated.”
He went on to say that Kedarnath Shukla was attempting to have him detained. He continued, “At the moment, I am on interim bail.”
In the Sidhi district, he is well recognised for his anti-establishment journalism. Citizens commended him for his ground reporting a few months ago when COVID-19 was widely spread. Insufficient oxygen and hospital administration mismanagement was highlighted in several of his reports.
On the condition of anonymity, a local BJP politician with close ties to Kedarnath Shukla remarked, “Shukla Ji has forgiven him numerous times. Tiwari had gone over the edge this time. This was just what he needed.”
“The BJP government’s ideology is a tyranny,” Madhya Pradesh Congress Spokesperson KK Mishra remarked. They have assaulted the fourth pillar of democracy since taking power. Attacks on journalists are attacks on democracy.
“When Taliban assassinated Indian journalist Danish Siddiqui, not a single BJP politician, including Prime Minister Modi, paid tribute to him,” KK Mishra remarked.
The booking of the journalist by the police and local administration was an abuse of power, according to high court lawyer Nityanand Misha. “The job of a journalist requires going to public offices and speaking with authorities.”