After facing flak, Himachal Pradesh government on Tuesday withdrew a controversial order issued by Bilaspur superintendent of police for journalists to provide "character certificate" for coverage of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's proposed visit to the hill state on Wednesday.
The prime minister will address a public meeting after inaugurating AIIMS in Bilaspur and participate in the famous Kullu Dussehra celebrations during his visit to the state.
Congress and Aam Aadmi Party criticised the order issued by Bilaspur SP Diwakar Sharma on September 29 for requirement of certificate of character verification of the journalists for coverage of PM's visit to Bilaspur district on October 5.
Both the parties termed the order as an attack by the Bharatiya Janata Party government on democracy.
State Congress vice-president Naresh Chauhan and AAP state spokesperson Gaurav Sharma on Tuesday urged the state government to immediately withdraw the order.
State director general of police Sanjay Kundu has withdrawn the SP's order, a press statement stated.
"The instructions issued by SP Bilaspur vide letter No. Sec/Function/22-17522 dated 29-09-2022 have been withdrawn by the director general of police, HP. Any inconvenience caused in this regard is regretted," the statement said.
"HP police welcomes all the journalists for the coverage of Hon'ble Prime Minister's visit to Himachal Pradesh on 5th October, 2022 and assures to facilitate their coverage," it added.
In his instructions issued on September 29, the Bilaspur SP asked district public relations officer Kuldeep Guleria to provide list of all press correspondents, photographers and videographers, team of Doordarshan Kendra and AIR along with a certificate of their character verification.
When contacted, the SP told PTI, "These instructions were inadvertently issued by his office. This lapse is on my part. Police headquarters or the state government has nothing to do with it. A corrigendum has been issued and the letter has been withdrawn. All the journalists are welcome."