The Uttar Pradesh police have registered an FIR against the far-left propaganda portal – The Wire, for spreading animosity and disturbing communal harmony in the society by propagating misinformation through a video documentary in connection with the Barabanki illegal mosque demolition case.
On Thursday, the Barabanki police said that they have registered a case against the portal and three journalists of The Wire – Seraj Ali, Mohammad Anees and Mukul S Chauhan — and another person identified as Mohammad Naeem for publishing false propaganda over the recent demolition of an illegal mosque in the Barabanki district.
Interestingly, Indian Express and The Scroll identify Mohammad Anees as a The Wire journalist, however, the FIR itself identifies him as a local. Mohammad Anees in the video itself is shown as a local who is making claims about the mosque demolition.
The case was filed under Sections 153 (wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot), 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups), 505 (1) (b) (intent to cause or likely to cause fear or alarm among the public), 120 B (criminal conspiracy) and 34 (criminal act done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code.
Online news portal ‘ THE WIRE’ द्वारा रामसनेहीघाट जनपद बाराबंकी के तहसील परिसर से संबंधित निराधार और असत्य तथ्यों पर आधरित वीडियो documentary शेयर करने वालों के विरुद्ध थाना रामसनेहीघाट #barabankipolice द्वारा की गई विधिक कार्यवाही।#UPPolice@Uppolice https://t.co/FWnsxXLdIa pic.twitter.com/2u6nqVg2r8— Barabanki Police (@Barabankipolice) June 24, 2021
In The Wire video documentary dated 23rd June, the portal had claimed that the district administration had illegally demolished the 100-year-old mosque in the city. The Wire had interviewed a few Muslims, who claimed that they were the members of the mosque’s committee. They had proceeded to claim that the members had proof that the structure was legal.
In its documentary, the Wire had stated that the Muslims in the area had protested against the demolition of the mosque and stated that the police officials had quelled by resorting to a lathi charge. The Wire had claimed that the Barabanki police specifically targeted the Muslim community and had thrown away their religious scriptures into the drain.
Refuting such allegations made by the Wire, the Barabanki police clarified that the claims made by The Wire were false. It further stated that The Wire was trying to stoke communal violence by propagating misinformation about the demolition of the illegal mosque at the site.
“On June 23, the online news portal, The Wire, shared a video documentary about the Ramsnehi Ghat Tehsil premises on their Twitter handle. In the documentary, they have shown false and baseless information. The video contains several wrongs and baseless statements, including the one which says that the administration and police threw religious scriptures in drain and river. This is false. Nothing of this sort happened. With misinformation like this, The Wire is trying to spread animosity in society and disturbing communal harmony,” Barabanki District Magistrate Adarsh Singh said in a statement on Thursday night.
Superintendent of Police (Barabanki) Yamuna Prasad said that an individual called Mohammad Naeem was the person in the documentary who made the “false claims about religious books being thrown in the river and drain”.
Here are the visuals from The Wire video documentary. The individual, Mohammad Anees had claimed that their Qurans and Hadiths were thrown in the sewer.
A complaint has been registered by a police officer, based on which an FIR has been lodged. Further action is underway,” the officer added.
Barabanki mosque demolition:
A controversy had erupted after the administration in Uttar Pradesh’s Barabanki district pulled down a 100-year-old illegally constructed ‘mosque’ in the area. On May 17, following the SDM’s instructions, the illegal structure was demolished.
The officials confirmed an illegal residential structure situated inside the ‘tehsil’ premises in the Ram Sanehi Ghat area in the district. As per officials, a notice was served on the people who had been residing there, asking them to produce documents supporting their claim, but they fled after the notice was served.
However, the local Muslim organisations and opposition began to outrage claiming that the ‘mosque’ was legal. The UP Sunni Central Waqf Board had termed the district administration’s action illegal and moved the Allahabad High Court against it.
In a setback to Muslim organisations, the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court had disposed of a petition filed in this connection on April 2, which proved that the construction was illegal. It is pertinent to note that The Wire had spread misinformation about the case after the High Court had disposed the petition filed in this case.