Jaipur journalist summoned by police for FIR hate speech; PUCL calls it “harassment”
Rajasthan Police on Monday issued a summons to senior Jaipur journalist Bhawani Singh Deora in connection with FIR against TV journalist Aman Chopra.
After his show “Desh Nahi Jhukne Denge” aired on April 22, Network 18 editor Chopra faced at least three FIRs in Rajasthan. According to the High Court, which suspended his arrest in the case, “the allegation against him is that the said discussion was also posted on his Twitter account, which led to a community disagreement and community riots in Alwar on April 22. “.
The FIR Bundi v. Chopra was filed under IPC Sections 153A (promoting enmity among different groups on grounds of religion, race, etc., and committing acts detrimental to the maintenance of harmony), 295 (carrying attack or defile a place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class), 295A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage the religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) and 120B (association of criminals). Another FIR was filed at Bichhiwara Police Station, Dungarpur, also on 23 April, under IPC Sections 153A, 295A, 124A (sedition) and Section 67 of the Computers Act. A third FIR was lodged at Kotwali Police Station, Alwar, in the same sections as Bundi FIR.
On Monday morning, a police team from Dungarpur reached Bhawani Singh’s residence in Jaipur. Singh is the Rajasthan bureau chief of News18 India/CNN News18.
Dungarpur SP Rashi Dogra Dudi told the Indian Express: “The case concerns Mr Aman Chopra, there is no new case. They (Dungarpur Police) had only gone as part of an investigation. Some survey questions are pending.
She said police arrived at Deora’s home in the “normal course of the investigation to issue summonses and question him”.
“Deora was asked to cooperate with the investigation since his name appears in our investigation,” the SP said.
Asked about the decision, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said, “Aapse sun raha hun main toh, mujhe nahi maalum (you tell me about it, I don’t know)” and said he “would find out”. Gehlot said this while talking to reporters at a Congress party meeting in Jaipur on Monday.
The People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) condemned the move, calling Deora’s inclusion in the investigation “blatant harassment”.
“When the police arrive at a journalist’s home, the objective is to silence him. And it restricts their constitutional right – regardless of their ideology or political beliefs – to free speech.
However, PUCL warned that journalists should also respect the freedom of expression of those with an ideology different from their own “and keep the studios away from hate and communal atmosphere”.