The Wire, journalist booked in Uttar Pradesh

Photo taken from the twitter handle of Barabanki Police.  

An FIR was lodged against news portal The Wire in Uttar Pradesh for allegedly spreading false information that religious scriptures of a particular community were thrown into a river and drain following the demolition of a mosque by the administration in Barabanki.

The FIR was lodged for a documentary titled ‘How a Mosque in UP’s Barabanki was Demolished’, which showed members of the committee of the demolished mosque terming the administrative act illegal and claiming that they had documents to prove the structure was legal.

‘Illegal residential complex’

In May, the Barabanki administration, after carrying out the demolition, without making a reference to any mosque, said an “illegal residential complex” was found situated opposite to the sub-divisional magistrate residence in the Ramsanehi Ghat tehsil compounds.

The Allahabad High Court recently issued notices to the administration on the demolition after petitions were filed before it terming the administrative act illegal and arbitrary.

Adarsh Singh, District Magistrate, Barabanki, said the FIR against The Wire was lodged for allegedly spreading misleading and false information, trying to spread religious animosity and frenzy and spoiling communal harmony.

Many false and irrational statements were made in the video that religious scriptures of a specific religion were thrown into the river and drains by the administration and police, said Mr. Singh.

“It is absolutely false. Such an incident did not happen,” he said.

Mohammad Anees; Mohammad Naeem; Seraj Ali, journalist of The Wire, who reported the documentary; Mukul S Chauhan and The Wire were named in the FIR.

The case was lodged under Sections 153, 153A, 505 (1) (b), 120 B and 34 of the Indian Penal Code.

Fourth FIR against portal

Siddharth Varadarajan, Editor of The Wire, said this was the fourth FIR filed by the U.P. police in the past 14 months against the portal and/or its journalists and “each of these cases is baseless.”

The Yogi Adityanath government did not believe in media freedom and was criminalising the work of journalists who were reporting what was happening in the State, he said in response to the FIR.

“In U.P., politicians and anti-social elements can openly spew communal hatred and advocate violence, but the police never sees these actions as a threat to communal harmony and law and order. But when journalists report the statements of people who allege wrongdoing on the part of the administration — in this case, the allegation is of the illegal demolition of a mosque — FIRs are immediately filed,” he said.

PTI adds:

A video related to the Ramsanehi Ghat tehsil complex was shared by The Wire on its Twitter handle on June 23 in which “baseless” claims have been made, Superintendent of Police Yamuna Prasad said.

“A case has been registered against The Wire on Thursday night on charges of spreading enmity and religious frenzy by broadcasting sensational, prejudiced, misleading and untrue things and making a malicious attempt to spoil communal amity. Instructions have been issued to initiate action,” he said.

In charge of the Kotwali police station Sachchidanand Rai said investigation was on to find out who else was involved in “making provocative statements and spreading false information”.

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Printable version | Jul 31, 2021 5:45:48 AM |

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