UP Police Register FIR Against Shashi Tharoor and 7 Others for Sharing 'Unverified News' of Republic Day Rally
By: Sashwata Saha
The Uttar Pradesh Police on Thursday has registered FIR against eight people including Congress MP Shashi Tharoor and six journalists -- India Today’s star anchor Rajdeep Sardesai, National Herald’s senior editor Mrinal Pande, Qaumi Awaz editor Zafar Agha and The Caravan magazine’s editors Paresh Nath, Anant Nath and Vinod K Jose, and one unnamed person under sedition laws for sharing “unverified” news during the farmers’ tractor rally in Delhi on January 26.
The FIR has been registered under various sections of Indian penal code (IPC) dealing with sedition and for promoting enmity between different groups, intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace, incite violence, and criminal conspiracy.
“It was done deliberately so that it causes a large-scale riot and communal violence among various communities,” the FIR alleged. It also said that their tweets led to the hoisting of the religious flag and other flags at Red Fort in place of the tricolour.
“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,” it further stated.
The FIR was filed by 35-year-old Arpit Mishra, a resident of Noida, at the Sector-20 police station, under Section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
All of them have been booked for tweeting about one protestor who had died at the ITO crossing on January 26. The tweets insinuated that the farmer was shot dead by Delhi Police during the tractor rally. Later, Delhi Police had released CCTV footage of the event and said that he had died in an accident instead when he lost balance and his tractor overturned.
It is interesting to note that while the case has been filed in UP, its jurisdiction would be Delhi. According to a legal expert, cited by the News Minute, since the sections used are cognizable offences, the UP police may be trying to show that the case can be filed anywhere and will then be transferred to the jurisdictional police.
On the same day, the Bhopal Police also registered a case against the same persons, under Section 153 of the IPC. The case was based on a complaint which accused their action of sharing ‘false and misleading tweets’ during the farmers’ rally of leading to ‘grave threat to the security of the nation’, according to the Times of India.
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