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Media asked not to ‘overplay’ China border incidents

Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao assumes charge at her office in New Delhi. File Photo: S. Subramanium   | Photo Credit: S_Subramanium

A day after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told reporters that media reports were painting an inaccurate picture of conditions along the India-China border, the government moved swiftly to scotch swirling rumours about military incursions, shooting incidents and even imminent conflict along the Line of Actual Control.

“The Prime Minister has just made a statement that there has not been any more incursions or transgressions as compared to the last year. They are at the same level. So there is no cause of worry or concern,” Chief of Army Staff Deepak Kapoor told reporters at the Officers Training Academy in Chennai on Saturday.

And, in an indication of how seriously the government is taking the recent scare-mongering, the Union Home Ministry has decided to file an FIR against the two Times of India reporters who filed a story claiming Indian soldiers had been injured in firing by the Chinese.

The story, ‘Two ITBP jawans injured in China border firing,’ was published as a lead in that newspaper on September 15, leading to official denials by the Foreign Ministries of both countries.

“We have taken this story very seriously. We are going ahead with our decision to take criminal action against the two reporters and we will soon file an FIR. They have quoted some highly placed intelligence source in their story. Let them appear before the court and tell who is this source who gave them information,” top sources in the Home Ministry said on Saturday.

Though they refused to say what crime the two reporters would be charged with, MHA officials said Indian law proscribed the promotion of enmity with other countries.

In an interview to CNN-IBN, National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan also urged the media to be restrained. “I really am unable to explain why there is so much media hype on this question,” he said, expressing concern that if such coverage continued, “someone somewhere might lose his cool and something might go wrong.”

On his part, General Kapoor asked the media to exercise restraint and appealed to them to not “overplay” the issue.

No significant increase

At a press conference on the Prime Minister’s forthcoming visit to the G20 summit, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said there had been no significant increase in the number of Chinese incursions in all sections of the LAC and that peace and tranquillity continued to hold just as it had done for “some decades now.”

She also played down the significance of reports of China attempting to block an Asian Development Bank loan for projects in Arunachal Pradesh. “The Country Partnership Strategy has been endorsed by the ADB and that’s where the matter stands,” she said.

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Printable version | Oct 23, 2020 2:15:44 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/Media-asked-not-to-lsquooverplayrsquo-China-border-incidents/article16882490.ece

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