The Supreme Court has agreed to listen to a plea by journalist Shyam Meera Singh and others that seeks to quash a FIR by Tripura Police over tweets and social media posts – together with Mr Singh’s “Tripura is burning” touch upon Twitter – made throughout violence within the northeastern state final month.
A date for the listening to will likely be fastened shortly, Chief Justice NV Ramana mentioned, in response to the plea by advocate Prashant Bhushan on behalf of Mr Singh and people looking for to quash the police grievance.
“Petition is filed concerning incidents in Tripura and FIRs and notices issued to legal professionals who went on a fact-finding mission, and mentioned ‘Tripura is burning’… we have challenged a number of points, together with extensive definition of ‘illegal actions’,” Mr Bhushan instructed the highest courtroom.
“Why did not you file earlier than (the Tripura) Excessive Court?” Chief Justice Ramana requested.
To this Mr Bhushan replied: “As a result of we’re questioning UAPA as nicely, and the case must be heard urgently as these individuals face imminent arrest.”
“Okay. We’ll give a date,” the Chief Justice mentioned.
The FIR accuses Mr Singh and the others of spreading “faux information” and “distorted or objectionable” content material about what the state authorities has dismissed as allegations of mosques being vandalised and native Muslim communities being attacked after communal violence in neighbouring Bangladesh.
The journalist and people named within the grievance, who embody legal professionals and activists, face costs starting from legal conspiracy and forgery to spreading “faux information”, and have been booked underneath controversial anti-terror regulation UAPA, or the Illegal Actions (Prevention) Act.
The vaguely worded regulation – the constitutional validity of which has been challenged within the high courtroom – permits authorities to detain individuals, with out cost, for six months.
Mr Singh spoke to wantpassport yesterday and underlined his willpower to carry the state authorities to account, and identified that he was solely repeating what the Excessive Court had noticed.
“No matter I tweeted – ‘Tripura is burning’ – was the identical factor the Tripura Excessive Court mentioned. It took suo moto cognisance of the violence and requested the state authorities for replace on motion taken. But when a journalist says the identical factor… then UAPA is filed,” Mr Singh instructed wantpassport.
“If there may be democracy on this nation, then I’m not anxious. The one who ought to be anxious is the IPS officer who filed UAPA case in opposition to journalists and activists, and even kids,” he added.
For writing solely these 3 phrases “Tripura is burning”, BJP Authorities of Tripura has imposed UAPA on me. I need to reiterate as soon as once more, I’ll by no means hesitate to face up for justice. PM of my nation is likely to be a coward, We journalists aren’t.
मैं आपकी जेलों से नहीं डरता. pic.twitter.com/pw5OrZlDRp
— Shyam Meera Singh (@ShyamMeeraSingh) November 6, 2021
Tripura Police final week additionally approached Twitter, Fb, and YouTube for particulars of greater than 100 social media accounts they declare have been used to make “faux” and “provocative” posts. This was after they filed over a dozen legal circumstances in opposition to greater than 70 individuals, together with Mr Singh.
Senior police officers have been quoted by PTI as warning individuals “to not like or retweet provocative posts because it quantities to rumour-mongering”. They pointed to claims a mosque in Gomati district had been set ablaze – “a whole misrepresentation of info” – to underline their level.
Based on information company AFP, accounts red-flagged by the authorities embody these belonging to journalists from India and Australia, and a regulation professor primarily based in the USA. Nearly all of these underneath investigation, AFP reported, have been Muslims.
The Australian journalist, recognized by AFP as CJ Werleman, had identified that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had not condemned the unrest and that Muslim protesters had been detained.
UAPA costs have been slammed by the opposition and civil society voices, together with Congress MP Rahul Gandhi, who this week attacked the BJP (which is in energy in Tripura) for “capturing the messenger”; “Stating ‘Tripura Is Burning’ is a name for corrective motion. However BJP’s favorite cover-up tactic is capturing the messenger. Fact cannot be silenced by UAPA,” he tweeted.
The costs have additionally been condemned by the Editors Guild of India, which has demanded an investigation into the riots “as an alternative of penalising journalists and civil society activists”.
With enter from AFP, PTI