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Tractor rally: UP Police book Shashi Tharoor, journalists Rajdeep Sardesai, Mrinal Pandey, Anant Nath and others for sedition

Anant Nath, Paresh Nath, Sardesai and Pande did not respond to comments. Jose said, “Our lawyers are looking into it. Our reporters were on the ground, and had eyewitness on camera.”

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: January 29, 2021 9:15:25 am
Shashi Tharoor, Farmers protests, Farmers, Mrinal Pandey, Zafar Agha, Rajdeep Sardesai, Farm laws, Republic day violence, FIR against shashi Tharoor, India news, Indian ExpressThe FIR says the tweets were made to “malign the image of the police and armed forces”.

Uttar Pradesh Police Thursday lodged an FIR against Congress MP Shashi Tharoor and several journalists, including India Today’s Rajdeep Sardesai, National Herald’s Mrinal Pandey, Zafar Agha of Qaumi Awaz, and The Caravan’s Anant Nath and Vinod Jose, for allegedly spreading misinformation on the farmers’ tractor rally on January 26.

The FIR has been lodged under 11 IPC sections, including Section 124A (sedition), 153-A (promoting enmity between groups), section 295A (deliberate and malicious act intended to outrage religious feelings), Section 504 (intentional insult), Section 506 (criminal intimidation) and Section 120B (criminal conspiracy to commit offence punishable by death).

It has been lodged against eight persons: Tharoor; Sardesai, who is consulting editor; Pande, group editorial advisor; Jose, executive editor; Caravan editor Anant Nath; its editor-publisher Paresh Nath, editor-in-chief of Qaumi Awaz Zafar Agha and one unnamed person. The complaint was filed by one Arpit Mishra.

The FIR says the accused acted in “prejudice”, which put national safety and people’s lives in jeopardy. “These people deliberately made malicious, offensive, misleading and provocative statements, and tweeted…that police killed a protesting tractor driver,” it alleged. The driver was killed when his tractor toppled over and postmortem had ruled out any bullet injuries.

The FIR alleges that the “false information” was publicised as part of a “planned conspiracy”. It says, “This was done with the malafide intent so that riots take place at a large scale and tensions are created between different communities.” It says this was also done for “personal and political gains” of the accused.

“Due to the atmosphere created by their tweets, protesters reached the Lal Qila and hoisted religious and other flags. The named persons are wholly responsible for this unfortunate incident in India’s history,” it alleges.

The FIR says the tweets were made to “malign the image of the police and armed forces”.

Anant Nath, Paresh Nath, Sardesai and Pande did not respond to comments. Jose said, “Our lawyers are looking into it. Our reporters were on the ground, and had eyewitness on camera.”

“I heard about it. Unless I speak to my legal people I can’t comment,” Zafar Agha said. Tharoor declined to comment.

“An FIR was filed for alleged sedition regarding content posted by some persons. No arrests have been made. We are investigating the allegations,” SHO, Noida Sector 20 police station, Rakesh Kumar Singh said.

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