Congress condemned Uttar Pradesh police's move, booking eight Twitter handles, including senior journalist Barkha Dutt's news portal Mojo Story, for allegedly spreading fake news regarding the poisoning of three girls in Unnao and the subsequent death of two of them. Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala demanded the immediate withdrawal of all "politically motivated" FIRs. He added that such blatant twisted acts could not silence the voice of his party leaders.
Surjewala alleged that the law and order situation in UP has "entirely collapsed". The government has failed to safeguard the people's interests, particularly the safety of women and children belonging to poorer sections of the society, he added. He also claimed that instead of going after the culprits, the UP government was charging their leaders and the media.
The eight Twitter accounts holders are Mojo Story, Janjagran Live, Aazad Samaj Party spokesperson Suraj Kumar Boudh, Nilim Dutta, Vijay Ambedkar, Abhay Kumar Azad, Rahul Diwakar, and Nawab Satpal Tanwar. They have been filed under IPC section 153 for provocation and Section 66 of the IT Act. Unnao ASP Vinod Kumar Pandey claimed that the FIR was lodged for propagating "fake and misleading news" on social media about the incident.
Responding to the FIR, Mojo Story tweeted, "FIR for the reportage of the Unnao murders- this is a blatant case of harassment and intimidation." The tweet also claimed that a local stringer gave the inputs for the story, and later, they had their correspondent on the ground. If the case is to be pursued, they will defend confidently in court, the tweet read.
The UP Police earlier booked congress leader Udit Raj for having alleged sexual assault in the case. The police claimed it to be false information, citing the post-mortem report of the two girls.
The police arrested two people on Saturday in connection with the case.
The three girls were found poisoned in a field of Babuhara village in Asoha, UP. While two of them were declared brought dead by the local hospital, the third was admitted to Kanpur. Her health is reportedly improving.