UP Police files FIR against The Wire, two journalists for video on Barabanki mosque demolition
Photo Credit: Twitter/@nadeemfaisal117

The Uttar Pradesh Police has filed an FIR against online news portal, The Wire, for allegedly spreading animosity in society and disturbing communal harmony through its documentary about the demolition of a mosque in Barabanki district, reported NDTV.

According to reports, this is the fourth FIR filed by the Uttar Pradesh Police against the news organisation in 14 months.

Taking to Twitter, the Barabanki District Magistrate, Adarsh Singh, said the news portal's video falsely showed that the police threw religious scriptures of a community into a river after the demolition.

"The news portal, The Wire, shared a video documentary on their Twitter handle on June 23 that makes baseless and false statements. The video contains several wrong 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.

The FIR also names two journalists working with the news portal. The FIR has been registered under IPC sections 153 (wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot), 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups), 505 (1) (b) (with intent to cause, or which is likely to cause, fear or alarm to the public), 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention).

Meanwhile, Siddharth Varadarajan, the Founding Editor of The Wire, in a statement said the news portal will "not be intimidated" and the case is "baseless".

“This is the fourth FIR filed by the UP Police in the past 14 months against The Wire and/or its journalists and each of these cases is baseless. The Adityanath government does not believe in media freedom and is criminalising the work of journalists who are reporting what is happening in the state,” Siddharth Varadarajan said.

On Tuesday, the Allahabad High Court directed the respondents to file their responses within three weeks in connection with the demolition of a mosque at Barabanki on May 17.

The Lucknow bench of the HC also issued a notice to the then Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) of Ram Sanehi Ghat in Barabanki for his reply as malice was alleged against him.

It also granted a week to the petitioner for filing a rejoinder affidavit, fixing July 27 as the next date of hearing. A division bench of Justice Rajan Roy and Justice Saurabh Lavania passed the order on two writ petitions filed by UP Sunni Central Waqf Board and Hashmat Ali and others.

(With inputs from PTI)

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