Tanveer Warsi is the editor of a Hindi-language newspaper Prabhat Sanket in Madhya Pradesh state (MP). He bought Prabhat Sanket, a defunct Hindi weekly that used to be published from Indore around 2010, with his own money. The newspaper received acclaim from the readers and distributed around 5000 copies before his arrest in July 2021.
Warsi also reported for Sahara Samay, ANI, and NDTV, among other news outlets from Rajgarh, MP.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Warsi published in his newspaper the dilapidated condition of the district hospital and photos of leaky ceilings where the COVID patients had been treated. The ANI ran the video of water gushing out of the wall’s crevices. According to Warsi, Prabhat Sanket published a photograph of government engineers draining water from the ICU. A committee was instituted accordingly, but nothing happened.
In his second report, he exposed the false claims of the administration. Contrary to the administration’s claims about ventilators being provided to the patients from the Prime Minister Cares Fund, he ran a story with photos of defunct ventilators. Soon after he reported on the leaky ceilings and the mismanagement by the administration, an FIR was filed against him for medical negligence at a private hospital run by his relatives.
According to Warsi, he had no connection with the hospital. Subsequently, two other FIRs were filed against him and 19 other accused. While the police arrested only Warsi, others were forced to submit an affidavit.
The journalist had also been accused of fraudulently running the newspaper. The administration ordered the publication of Prabhat Sanket to be stopped. His wife asserts that the paper’s registration and all formalities were completed in January 2021.
Warsi said in an interview, “I was targeted for being a Muslim journalist, accusing the government of systematic discrimination against Muslims across India.
He was arrested in Bhopal on July 22, 2021, under various sections of the Indian Penal Code. Warsi languished in jail for five months before getting bail.
Charges and Allegations
Section 177 (furnishing false information), section 186, section 269, section 188, section 304, section 336, section 369, section 417, section 34, section 120-B, section 420 (cheating over the property), section 464, 467 and section 468 (forgery and cheating) and Section 12, 13, 14 and 15 of the Press and Book Registration Act, 1867.
Warsi got bail on all three FIRs on December 9, 2021. He walked out of jail on December 11. He is preparing to contest the cases and the forced closure of his newspaper, Prabhat Sanket, in the state High Court.