UP: Court refuses to take cognizance of chargesheet against five journalists

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A COURT in Bijnor has refused to take cognizance of a police chargesheet filed against five local journalists on the ground that there is “insufficient evidence” against them. The journalists were booked last year on several charges, including promoting enmity, for allegedly running “fake news” regarding alleged denial of water to a Scheduled Tribe family from a handpump and also for allegedly putting up posters claiming that the family’s house was on sale.

The police recently filed a chargesheet against the journalists — Ashish Tomar, Shakeel Ahmed, Moin, Amir and Lakhan. Ashish and Shakeel were named in the FIR and police said the names of Moin, Amir and Lakhan cropped up during investigation.

“The court refused to take cognizance of the chargesheet because of insufficient evidence against the journalists,” said government counsel, Bijnor, Neeraj Kumar. The court also directed that the Superintendent of Police, Bijnor, be informed in writing about the “erroneous investigation done in the case”.

The case dates to August last year when two families clashed over water at Titarwala Basi village in Mandawar police station area. One of the families, belonging to the Dalit community, allegedly refused to allow the other, from the ST community, to collect water from a hand pump. On being informed, a police team reached the village and resolved the dispute. After the police left, the families again clashed.

On September 6, a police team visited the village after sections of the media reported that ST family put up posters on an “exodus” from the village. The police said a family member had told them that on September 5, four-five journalists put up the poster, which also said the house was for sale, despite her raising an objection.

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