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Sedition FIRs against Tharoor, journalists now in five states

The cases name Tharoor and journalists Rajdeep Sardesai, Mrinal Pande, Zafar Agha, Paresh Nath, Anant Nath, and Vinod K Jose. Most of them invoke IPC sections of sedition, criminal intimidation, promoting enmity, provocation to break public peace, criminal conspiracy, outraging religious feelings, among others.

By: Express News Service | Bengaluru, Bhopal, Gurgaon, New Delhi, Noida |
January 31, 2021 4:27:53 am
Shashi Tharoor, Farmers protests, Cricketers on farmers protests, Bollywood on Farmers protest, India news, Indian expressSenior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor. (File)

FIRs have been filed in five states, the latest being in Delhi Saturday, against Congress Lok Sabha MP Shashi Tharoor and six journalists over their allegedly “misleading” tweets on the violence and death of a protester during the farmers’ tractor rally in Delhi on Republic Day.

The cases name Tharoor and journalists Rajdeep Sardesai, Mrinal Pande, Zafar Agha, Paresh Nath, Anant Nath, and Vinod K Jose. Most of them invoke IPC sections of sedition, criminal intimidation, promoting enmity, provocation to break public peace, criminal conspiracy, outraging religious feelings, among others.

FIRs were lodged against the seven at Gurgaon (Haryana) and Bengaluru on Friday, in Noida (UP) on Thursday. Four similar cases in different districts of Madhya Pradesh earlier.

The FIR in Delhi was lodged on complaint of advocate Chiranjiv Kumar, a Central government lawyer at Delhi High Court. Kumar refused to comment on the FIR.

The complainant stated that the accused spread fake news about protester Navreet Singh’s death in Delhi on January 26 by blaming Delhi Police to “instigate violence”.

Navreet Singh died of head injuries when his tractor toppled after hitting a police barricade. The post mortem ruled out any bullet injuries.

The complainant stated that the “accused” posted tweets that day and spread fake news about Singh’s death by calling it “killing”.

Jasmeet Singh, DCP (central), tweeted, “Due to misleading and false information by The Caravan that a farmer protester has died due to police firing, a case has been registered in IP Estate Police station. FIR includes certain others also who also tried to mislead the public.”

In Gurgaon, a case was registered at Cyber Crime police station on a complaint by Pankaj Singh, a resident of Jharsa village.

“We have lodged an FIR based on the complaint given by a local resident who is a private citizen and does not appear to have any political affiliations so far…The case has been lodged against seven named accused and unidentified others. The matter is being investigated,” ACP (DLF) Karan Goel said.

In his complaint, Singh identifies himself as a “law-abiding and concerned citizen…who is deeply aggrieved by widespread riots”. He has alleged that “actions” of the seven named in FIR have caused “grave prejudice to the security of the nation”.

In Bengaluru, a social activist named Rakesh Shetty, alias Rakesh B S, filed a complaint of sedition, criminal conspiracy and other charges against the seven.

Shetty’s complaint was registered at Parappana Agrahara police station on Friday.

According to the complainant, the tweets by those named in the FIR amounted to incitement, damaging of national integrity, creation of enmity between different religious groups and division in society.

In Madhya Pradesh, four separate FIRs have been registered naming Tharoor and the six journalists for allegedly instigating farmers with unverified and unauthentic information for “personal and professional advantage”.

The FIRs have been registered in Bhopal, Hoshangabad and Betul districts, based on written applications by complainants who have submitted almost similar applications – the one submitted in Hoshangabad is in Hindi, while that in Bhopal and Betul are in English. In all four FIRs, complainants have accused the seven of starting a misinformation campaign in a coordinated and well-timed conspiracy about the Delhi Police shooting dead Navreet.

In Noida, the FIR was registered at Sector 20 Police Station on a complaint by local resident Arpit Mishra for “riots and damage”.

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