Congress leader Shashi Tharoor and senior journalists such as Rajdeep Sardesai and Mrinal Pande have been booked by both Delhi and Gurugram Police in connection with the violence during the tractor march in the national capital on Republic Day, 26 January. Earlier, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh too had booked them in similar cases, following 26 January.
Pande of ‘National Herald’, Zafar Aga of ‘Qaumi Awaz’ and Paresh Nath and Vinod K Jose of ‘The Caravan’ too have been named in the FIR filed by the Gurugram Cyber Cell.
“It was done deliberately so that it causes a large-scale riot and communal violence among various communities,” the FIR alleged.
The case has been registered under sections 124 A, 153 A, 153 B, 505 (2), and 120 B with charges of sedition, criminal conspiracy and promoting enmity under the Indian Penal Code.
“This act of theirs tried to build insurrection against the Indian Republic and tried to sow the seeds of enmity, violence and create a riot-like situation between communities,” the FIR stated.
The journalists and Tharoor have been booked under sections of 153(A) and 120B of the Indian Penal Code for allegedly tweeting “fake news which instigated protesters” which led to violent clashes in the Capital on 26 January. The FIR has been filed at IP Estate police station.
Cases Filed in Three BJP-Ruled States
Haryana is the third BJP-ruled state, after Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, to pursue cases against these persons over allegedly spreading false information on social media during clashes that broke out between the protesters and the police during a farmers’ rally against the three contentious farm laws.
The Congress leader and five other journalists were booked for sedition by Noida police on Thursday, 28 January, following a complaint by a resident who alleged that social media posts by the accused ‘promoted violence in Delhi.’
The FIR was filed by Arpit Mishra at the Sector 20 police station, under section 154 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).
On Friday, a similar FIR was registered in Madhya Pradesh’s Bhopal.
Editors’ Guild Slams Targeting of Journalists
The Editors' Guild condemned the “intimidating manner in the way in which” the police have registered FIRs against senior editors and journalists.
“It must be noted that on the day of the protest and high action, several reports were emerging from eyewitnesses on the ground as well as from the police, and therefore it was only natural for journalists to report all the details as they emerged. This is in line with established norms of journalistic practice,” read the statement.