FAIZABAD police on Wednesday lodged an FIR against an unknown editor of The Wire for allegedly making derogatory remarks against Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in his blog, at the City Kotwali police station.
In another FIR lodged at Ayodhya police station in Faizabad, a local resident named Harvajan Goud lodged an FIR against one “Siddharth” for allegedly making objectionable remarks against Adityanath in a tweet.
The first FIR has been lodged against an “editor of The Wire (name and address unknown)” under IPC Section 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) and 505(2) (statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill between classes). The complainant in the case is the station house officer, City kotwali police station, Nitish Kumar Srivastava.
The second case was lodged under IPC Sections 188 and 505(2), and also under Section 66D of The Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008, police said.
In a statement, Siddharth Varadarajan, Founding Editor of The Wire, described the FIR as a “blatant attack on the freedom of the press”.
According to Srivastava’s FIR, the editor of The Wire had written: “On the day the Tablighi Jamaat event was held. Yogi Adityanath insisted that a large fair planned for Ayodhya on the occasion of Ram Navami from March 25 to April 2 would proceed as usual while Acharya Paramhans said that Lord Ram would protect devotees from the coronavirus. One day after [Prime Minister Narendra] Modi announced the curfew like national lockdown on March 24, Adityanath violated the official guidelines to take part in a religious ceremony in Ayodhya along with dozens of people.”
Srivastava said: “Investigation would be conducted in the case.”
In his statement, Varadarajan said: “I have come to know through social media that an FIR has been registered under Section 188 and 505(2) of the IPC against The Wire.
“A bare perusal of the FIR shows that it is politically motivated and the offences invoked are not even remotely made out. The registration of an FIR is a blatant attack on the freedom of the press.
“The government of Yogi Adityanath in Uttar Pradesh does not seem to have learnt anything despite the strictures passed against it by the Supreme Court in June 2019 when the court ordered the release of the journalist Prashant Kanojia whom the state had illegally arrested. The right to liberty is a fundamental right and non-negotiable, the court had said.
“What the FIR says I have stated — that Chief Minister Adityanath attended a public religious event in Ayodhya on March 25 after the Prime Minister had announced a national lockdown — is a matter of record.”