The Uttar Pradesh police has filed a criminal case against The Wire, Twitter and six individuals for tweets linked to the claim by a Muslim man, Abdul Samad Saifi, that the assault he was subjected to on June 5, 2021 had a communal dimension.
The FIR, the third criminal case to filed against The Wire and its staff in the past 14 months, is appended below, as is a statement issued by The Wire in response.
Statement by The Wire on the latest FIR filed against it by the Uttar Pradesh Police
June 16, 2021
On June 14, 2021, The Wire, as also other media organisations, reported an incident from Uttar Pradesh about a violent attack on an elderly Muslim man, Abdul Samad Saifi. The man, who has described the incident in graphic detail on video, is quoted in the story as saying his beard was cut and he was forced to say ‘Jai Shri Ram’.
The video of the man describing his ordeal is available on YouTube:
As with all other published stories, The Wire tweeted a link to its story at 7:15 pm on June 14, 2021:
The Uttar Pradesh police, which has registered a case under various provisions of the IPC including 504 (‘intentional insult’), is still investigating the crime against Abdul Samad Saifi.
However, it claims that the attackers include Muslims and has concluded, on this basis, that there was no element of communal hatred. It has also decided that those who reported Saifi’s account are themselves guilty of a criminal conspiracy to spread communal hatred.
On June 15, the police registered an FIR against (1) six individuals for their tweets on the victim’s claims, (2) The Wire for its tweet of June 14 (7:15 pm), and (3) Twitter for having published these tweets.
The Wire condemns the registration of a criminal case by the UP Police over a news story and tweet based on accurate and truthful reports, by many media organisations, of what the victim of the crime has himself said about the incident. The FIR is an attempt to criminalise the reporting of anything other than the official version of events.
June 16, 2021
PDF of FIR appended below: