New Delhi: A district court in Meerut issued an externment order to local reporter Zakir Ali Tyagi over a cow slaughter case on December 12, stating that his presence in his home district of Meerut could “disturb the law and order situation of the region.”
Those who have received externment orders are barred by authorities from entering a designated place.
Additional district magistrate Amit Kumar in his order, which was seen by The Wire, has barred the journalist from entering the district for a period of three months over an alleged cow slaughter case filed against the reporter in 2020.
The case against Tyagi was registered in August 23, 2020, under Sections 5 and 8 of the Prevention of Cow Slaughter Act (1955), Tyagi spent 16 days in jail in 2020 over the charge.
The initial FIR against Tyagi did not name him. The FIR was filed after a complaint was filed by a person claiming to be a farmer in Aminabad who had alleged an instance of cow slaughter in his field.
Speaking to The Wire, Tyagi said that he is being targeted repeatedly for doing his work. He had no connection to slaughtering the cow, he said.
“I am being targeted repeatedly by the state for speaking truth to power and being a journalist, they have not found any evidence to this date against me which supports any claims. Barring me from my own district is an attack on my journalism,” he said, adding that this part of the state’s protracted crackdown against journalists who do not toe the government line.
In 2017, Tyagi was arrested and spent 42 days in jail for a case registered against him under the IT Act over two of his social media posts on Facebook against Uttar Pradesh chief minister Adityanath.
The journalist had then levelled several allegations of physical torture and violence against the Uttar Pradesh Police, who he said beat him up.
As The Wire had reported then, after the Uttarakhand high court termed the Ganga and Yamuna rivers as ‘living entities’ and gave them legal rights, he had updated his Facebook status to: “The Ganga has been declared a living entity; will criminal charges be initiated if someone drowns in it?”
The other post on Facebook, says Tyagi, was a play on the word ‘Yogi’ which the UP CM uses before his name.
An index released by Reporters Without Borders had alarm over the condition of journalists in India. The 20th edition of the report places India at the 150th rank out of 180 in 2022, terming it as “one of the world’s most dangerous countries for the media”
Previously, another report by the Committee Against Assault on Journalists revealed specific data on attacks on journalists in Uttar Pradesh.
The report stated that since 2017, each one of UP’s 75 districts has recorded police cases against journalists.