New Delhi: The barrage of cases against journalists for their reportage of the farmers’ tractor rally on Republic Day continued on Saturday, with the Delhi Police becoming the latest to file one against Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, senior journalist Rajdeep Sardesai, journalists of the Caravan magazine and others for allegedly misleading the public regarding the death of a farmer at ITO.
The case has been registered at the IP Estate police station.
This is the fifth FIR to be registered against Tharoor, Sardesai, National Herald’s senior consulting editor Mrinal Pande, the Caravan magazine’s editor and founder Paresh Nath its editor Anant Nath and executive editor Vinod K Jose and Qaumi Awaz editor Zafar Agha. However, unlike the other FIRs, the Delhi police have not invoked the sedition charge, according to reports.
Other cases have been registered in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.
“…They posted fake, misleading and wrong information regarding unfortunate death of the tractor driver in accident to instigate violence amongst protestors,” the Delhi Police said in a statement on Saturday, according to NDTV. “They all tried to imply that the death of the farmer was caused by the violence committed by the Delhi Police under directions of the central government… Such insensitive statements are prejudicial to national integration in this sensitive situation. Such messages are forwarded several times causing false narrative and making citizenry ill informed,” the police said in the statement.
According to The Hindu, the case was filed under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, including promoting enmity between different groups, insult with intent to prove breach of peace and criminal conspiracy.
Several media bodies have criticised the cases that have been registered against the journalists, saying the situation is reminiscent of an ‘undeclared emergency’. The charges are meant to intimidate and harass journalists, they said, demanding the withdrawal of the cases and the repeal of the sedition law.
On January 26, thousands of protesting farmers had clashed with the police during the tractor rally called by unions to highlight their demand for the repeal of the Centre’s three farm laws.