New Delhi, March 14: The Ministry of External Affairs on Friday clarified that no steps were taken to deport Eric Bellman, the South Asia Deputy Bureau Chief of Wall Street Journal (WSJ). The clarification came after the national public broadcaster Prasar Bharati apparently shared fake news that the MEA had asked the Indian Embassy in the US to look into a request "for immediate deportation" of Eric Bellman for "anti-India behaviour". Delhi Violence: Prasar Bharati CEO Shashi Shekhar Vempati Turns Down BBC Invite Citing 'one-sided' Reporting on Riots.
"Ministry of External Affairs today asked the Indian Embassy in the US to look into the request for immediate deportation of @WSJ's South Asia Deputy Bureau Chief @EricBellmanWSJ, who is based in India, for "anti-India behaviour"," read a tweet by Prasar Bharti New Services (PBNS). Twitter handles of the MEA and Indian Embassy in the US were also tagged in the post. This prompted a clarification for the government.
In another tweet, Prasar Bharti said: "A complaint in this connection had been lodged with MEA on March 2 after police complaints had been lodged against @WSJ for misreporting on Delhi riots, particularly about the killing of IB officer Ankit Sharma." Doordarshan Asst Director Suspended by Prasar Bharti for Not Live Telecasting PM Narendra Modi’s Speech at IIT Madras: Reports.
Screenshot of Prasar Bharti's Tweet on WSJ South Bureau Chief Eric Bellman:
Take down prasar bharti ? pic.twitter.com/GVfSVApS9w
— Sanjay Sharma (@sanjubabakool) March 13, 2020
However, in a statement, MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar clarified that the complaint was registered against Bellman on the Government's Online Grievance Redressal platform and that referring the complaint to the related office is "a routine matter as per the standard procedure."
"A complaint was registered against @EricBellmanWSJ, @WSJIndia by a private individual on Government's Online Grievance Redressal platform. Referring the complaint to the related office is a routine matter as per the standard procedure," Kumar tweeted. "No such decision on deportation has been taken by us," the MEA official added.
MEA's Clarification on News of WSJ South Bureau Chief Eric Bellman's Deportation:
A complaint was registered against @EricBellmanWSJ, @WSJIndia by a private individual on Government's Online Grievance Redressal platform. Referring the complaint to related office is a routine matter as per standard procedure. No such decision on deportation has been taken by us
— Raveesh Kumar (@MEAIndia) March 13, 2020
Following Kumar's clarification, Prasar Bharati deleted the tweet that had claimed that the MEA had asked the Embassy to look into the deportation. It posted another tweet which read: "Sources inform PBNS that the above is a private complaint registered with the grievance cell and no decision has been taken on the complaint at this time. As a matter of routine processing, the matter was referred to appropriate department for examination and nothing further needs to be read into the matter – Sources to PBNS."