An FIR has been lodged against Siddharth Varadarajan, editor of news website The Wire, at Rampur’s Civil Lines police station for posting on Twitter a report to allegedly “mislead people” on the death of a protester in New Delhi during the Republic Day incidents.
The FIR, registered on the complaint of Rampur resident Sanju Turaiha, has been lodged under IPC sections 153B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration) and 505(2) (statements creating or promoting enmity between classes).
The complainant stated: “It has come to my notice through social media that a person named Siddharth Varadarajan posted on Twitter that Hardeep Singh Dibdibiya, grandfather of Navreet Singh Dibdibiya, who died during the protest against farm bills in Delhi, said he was told by a doctor, from the panel of doctors which conducted the post-mortem, that the youth had died due to a bullet injury. And that the doctor’s hands were tied and hence, he could not do anything. In the tweet, the so-called report that has been cited tries to give the impression that it is the quote of the doctor, which is intended to mislead people. This has led to anger among the common people in Rampur and given rise to tension.”
The Twitter post, the complainant alleged, was part of a conspiracy to cause harm to common people, gain publicity and instigate violence.
The complainant stated: “The post-mortem of Navreet was done by a panel of three doctors and the report was sent to the Rampur Superintendent of Police (SP) and the officials concerned in a sealed envelope. The doctors have not given any statement regarding the autopsy to anyone and the post-mortem was also videographed.”
He said that though all three doctors had contradicted the report, the tweet was not removed. A statement by the three doctors said they had not made any remarks on the post-mortem of Navreet Singh to either the media or any person.
Navreet Singh died of head injuries when his tractor toppled after hitting a police barricade. The post-mortem examination ruled out any bullet injuries.
Rampur SP Shogun Gautam said the complaint was received from Sanju Turaiha who lives in Rampur. “We received the complaint and lodged the FIR under relevant sections of the IPC based on facts. We will be adding the name of the reporter who wrote the news report to the FIR,” Gautam said.
Responding to the FIR, Varadarajan, in a text message to The Indian Express, said: “This ridiculous case may be against me, but the real intention of the government is to ensure the dead man’s family does not repeat its claims and questions and is silenced.”