Ayodhya police shows up 'unannounced' at The Wire editor Siddharth Varadarjan's door, serves him a notice

The notice directed Varadarajan to appear in Ayodhya on April 14 in connection with an FIR filed.

WrittenBy:NL Team
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On Friday, Ayodhya police showed up unannounced, at the home of The Wire’s founding editor, Siddharth Vardarajan. Varadarajan’s wife, Nandini Sundar, listed out the sequence of events in a set of tweets.

She said that a man dressed in civilian clothing came to their residence and served a notice to Vardarjan. He refused to give his name but said that he was sent by the Ayodhya “prashasan”. Sundar said that later in the afternoon, seven or eight uniformed officers came knocking at their door in a black SUV with no number plate.

A notice was served, asking Varadarajan to appear in Ayodhya at 10 pm on April 14 "in connection with FIR registered by the police".

Here’s the timeline of the events:

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On April 1, two FIRs were filed involving The Wire, purportedly for “disseminating fake news”. The FIRs were filed over a news story that incorrectly attributed a quote to Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath.

By the time the FIRs were filed, the story had long been corrected.

Sundar told Newslaundry, “After the FIRs were filed, Siddharth didn’t receive any phone calls from them. But yesterday, they showed up unannounced.”

Varadarajan's brother, who is also a journalist, tweeted about the issue, saying Siddharth was being "targeted" by officials in Yogi Adityanath's government.

The first FIR was lodged on April 1 at the City Kotwali police station in Uttar Pradesh’s Faizabad, against “the editor of The Wire”, without naming Varadarajan specifically. It invoked penal provisions punishing disobedience to order duly promulgated by a public servant as well as public mischief, specifically creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes.

The second FIR was filed on April 1 too, at the Ayodhya police station, under Section 66D of the Information Technology Act. The provision relates to cheating by personation using computer resources. This FIR was filed against “Siddharth” for tweeting “unverifiable claims” about the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh.

For the complete timeline of events, read this story.

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