The Editors Guild of India on Wednesday described as “gross abuse of power over a personal grievance,” the action of the Hyderabad police in registering a First Information Report against S. Nagesh Kumar, Resident Editor (Andhra Pradesh) of The Hindu, for publishing a report on a meeting that Director-General of Police V. Dinesh Reddy had with Habib Mustafa Idrus Baba in Hyderabad on September 12.

A statement issued by the Guild said a reading of the report (carried by The Hindu on September 13) on the meeting “makes it clear that it is factual and cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, be regarded as inducing the commitment of any offence against the state or against public tranquillity, nor does it even remotely amount to forgery as alleged in the complaint.”

The statement added: “The DGP might have been embarrassed by the report, but that hardly makes it an offence under the law. That the complainant, Ram Narasimha Reddy, Assistant Commissioner of Police [Madhapur] and President of the A.P. Police Gazetted Officers’ Association, is an officer of the police force working under V. Dinesh Reddy, makes the registration of the FIR highly problematical.”

The Chief Minister and the Andhra Pradesh government should ensure that freedom of the press is protected against such abuse of power vested in the hands of the police, the statement said. “As this case illustrates, [the police] are not above seeking to cover up their embarrassment by abusing the process of the law.”