A n FIR was lodged on Sunday against users of eight Twitter handles, including @themojostory run by senior journalist Barkha Dutt, for spreading “misleading information” in connection with the death of two minor girls at Baburha village of UP’s Unnao, reports Pathikrit Chakraborty. The FIR named other handles — @BhimSenaChief (run by Nawab Satpal Tanwar), @SurajKrBaudh (run by spokesperson, Azad Samaj Party), @NilimDutta, @janjagranlive, @vijayambedkarUP, @Abhaykumarazad97 and @Rahuldiwkr.
The bodies of the two girls, aged 13 and 15, were found on February 17. The users of the eight handles were booked on charges of spreading rumours with the intention of causing riots and under relevant sections of the IT Act. On Saturday, former MP Udit Raj was booked by Unnao police in the case.
The police claimed these handles had tweeted that the two girls were sexually assaulted and their last rites were performed against the wishes of their families. Unnao SP Anand Kulkarni said despite the autopsy reports ruling out sexual assault and injuries, some people and parties continued to spread misinformation that the girls were raped. “All those who tried to flare up tension and disturb harmony through different social media platforms won’t be let off.
We have lodged an FIR and will conduct a probe. The misinformation was deliberately spread by people associated with parties, units and groups, which are trying to discredit the UP government and disturb the prevailing law and order.” Kulkarni claimed that some of the updates and tweets were removed after the police revealed the findings of the autopsy reports.
“Similarly, neither the police nor the administration was trying to conduct last rites of the two girls. One of the families told us that some of their relatives were to arrive from Surat and they would perform the last rites of the girls,” he added. In a statement on the FIR, @themojostory said: “We have reported all dimensions of the tragedy, the family’s anxieties and allegations as well as the police response at every step. If this case is pursued, we will confidently defend our journalistic rights and freedom in the court.”