Two FIRs were lodged in Uttar Pradesh’s Moradabad district on Saturday after complaints were received over an incident on Thursday evening when journalists were allegedly assaulted after a press conference held by former Chief Minister and Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav.
Confirming the FIRs, Uttar Pradesh ADG (Law and order) Prashant Kumar said that the FIRs were lodged based on complaints from both parties. “The cross FIRs were lodged based on complaints from both sides. Further action will be taken based on the merits of the cases. An investigation is underway,” said the ADG.
“The journalists’ association has named former CM Akhilesh Yadav and Samajwadi Party workers in its complaint. On the other hand, Samajwadi Party has named two journalists in its FIR,” the ASP said, adding that sections for assault, illegal confinement and rioting have been invoked in both the FIRs.
“In the FIR which was lodged based on the complaint by journalists, former CM Akhilesh Yadav has been named. We are scanning the footage from CCTV cameras at the hotel and are probing the issue,” Anand said.
On Thursday evening, chaos had broken out after some journalists reportedly came too close to the security cover of Samajwadi Party (SP) president Akhilesh Yadav at a hotel where the former chief minister had addressed a press conference. The incident took place in an area that is under the jurisdiction of the Pakwarha police station.
Moradabad Additional SP Amit Kumar Anand said an association of journalists in Moradabad lodged an FIR while Samajwadi Party district chief filed the other complaint.
A video of the incident has been widely shared on social media. It shows the SP chief pushing and shoving through the crowd, while he is heard telling journalists, “BJP ke liye kaam mat karo… Jaiye aap (Don’t work for the BJP. Go from here).” In the video, while Akhilesh talks to the crowd, his security officers are seen pushing away those who had come close to him.
In another purported video related to the incident, local journalist Fareed Shamsi was heard saying, “The SSG people beat us up. They pushed and then hit me with a rifle. I was asking questions, and then Akhilesh Yadav blamed me for doing this intentionally. I said I am asking questions, which is my job. They beat up all media persons. There were journalists from other channels too. Some had ended up with their mobiles smashed, while some cameras were broken too. I have sprained my leg and am going to a doctor now.”
Referring to the incident, Samajwadi Party spokesperson Juhie Singh had on Thursday night tweeted: “The actors had come after rehearsing which was part of a conspiracy to stop the security personnel from doing their duty. When stopped, they acted like they were falling, then gave a statement on camera. No worker has injured any actor. Their conscience is sleeping in the feet of the government’s advisors.”