The Allahabad high court has quashed a UP police FIR against the Wire editor Siddharth Varadarajan and reporter Ismat Ara over a report about the death of a farm law protester during a Republic Day rally, Live Law reported.
The case was first registered at the Civil Lines police station of Rampur district on January 31 last year against Varadarajan for a tweet which shared an article written by Ara,, under Sections 153B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national-integration) and 505(2) (statements conducing to public mischief) of the Indian Penal Code. The report shared claims made by Hadeep Singh Dibdiba, grandfather of Navreet Singh, a protester who died during the farmers’ tractor rally on Republic Day, that his grandson died of a bullet injury and not from an accident.
On Wednesday, the high court held that the report did not incite but only produced the version of the victims’ family, doctors and Rampur police. It said the report did not disclose any opinion by Varadarajan or Ara.
“Nothing was also brought before this court to indicate that there was any disturbance or riot which may have any bearing on public disorder on account of the publication of news/ tweet of the petitioners,” the court said, according to Live Law.
According to the Wire, the was filed on a complaint by one Sanju Turaha, a resident of Rampur district, and Ara’s name was later added on the complaint of another local, Saquib Hussain. The complaint had alleged that Varadarajan’s tweet and Ara’s article “led to anger among the common people in Rampur and gave rise to tension”. A tweet by the Rampur district magistrate, replying to Varadarajan’s tweet, also said, “Hope you understand your story could cause law and order problem here. It has already caused tensed situation here (sic).”