UP Police has lodged an FIR against several politicians and journalists for sharing fake news during the tractor rally in Delhi on 26th January. The FIR under the section 154 of CrPC has been lodged at the Noida sector 20 police station.
The FIR names Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, India Today journalist Rajdeep Sardesai, National Herald’s Senior consulting editor Mrinal Pandey, Quami Awaz editor Zafar Agha, Caravan magazine’s editor and founder Paresh Nath, Caravan editor Anant Nath and its executive editor Vinod K Jose, and one unnamed person.
All of them have been booked for spreading the fake news that one protestor was shot dead by Delhi Police during the tractor rally on Republic Day, who had actually died due to an accident. Rajdeep Sardesai had tweeted the fake news on Twitter, and later had repeated the same on India Today, claiming that bullet injury was seen on the head of the deceased.
Shashi Tharoor and others named in the FIR had also circulated the fake news, which had instigated the protestors to indulge in violence.
The Caravan had also spread the fake news, claiming that “An eyewitness told The Caravan that he saw the police firing from behind the grills of the Andhra Education Society.” They had also reported that eyewitnesses said they saw police personnel fleeing from the spot after Navneet was shot.
BREAKING | Updates on the killing of #farmer Navneet Singh at ITO:— The Caravan (@thecaravanindia) January 26, 2021
An eyewitness told The Caravan that he saw the police firing from behind the grills of the Andhra Education Society. A group of police officials led by ACP HSP Singh have taken charge of the CCTV footage. pic.twitter.com/jNPpTUtMje
While most others had subsequently deleted their social media posts after it was emerged that the farmer had died after tractor had overturned while he was attempting a stunt, the tweets of Caravan still remain.
The FIR says that the accused persons are responsible for the riots on 26th January, as it was instigated by their digital media posts. It says that despite the large scale attack on the police causing injuries to hundreds of policemen, the accused persons circulated fake news in a coordinated and well-planned manner that police have shot a person dead. ‘It was done deliberately so that it cases a large-scale riot and communal violence among various communities’, the FIR alleges.
The UP police says that the accused persons knowingly circulated fake news for their political benefits and to instigate the protestors for violence. ‘Due to their tweets, the protestors reached the Red Fort and hoisted religious and other flags in the place of national flag’, the FIR notes.
The claim that police deliberately shot a person dead can cause a feeling of fear and insecurity among various communities, and it can become a threat to the national unity in these sensitive times. The tweets have been forwarded to a large number of people, and it has caused an adverse effect on the law and order situation in the country. Therefore, it is necessary to remove the misleading tweets, the FIR states.
Through the FIR, charges under sections 153(A), 153(B), 295(A), 298, 506, 505(2), 124(A)/34/120(B) of the Indian Penal Code, and under section 66 of the Information Technology act.