New Delhi: Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Thursday slammed the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh over the FIR against a senior journalist for his comments on Twitter against Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, saying it is a "deplorable" act intended to suppress media freedom.
The former home minister demanded that the FIR be immediately withdrawn.
The Uttar Pradesh police on Wednesday booked The Wire editor Siddharth Varadarajan over comments on Twitter claiming that the day Tablighi Jamaat held its event in Delhi, Chief Minister Adityanath had insisted that a Ram Navami fair will take place as usual.
The FIR against Varadarajan also mentioned his remark, questioning Adityanath's participation in a religious ceremony at the Ramjanmabhoomi site in Ayodhya during the nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus.
Chidambaram, in a series of tweets, said, "UP government has filed an FIR against @thewire_in for carrying a story containing facts and only facts. No fact' is wrong or even alleged to be wrong. Where is the crime?"
"The FIR is a deplorable act intended to suppress freedom of the media. The FIR must be withdrawn immediately," he said.
The FIR referred to a tweet by Varadarajan which said, "On the day the Tablighi Jamaat event was held, Adityanath insisted a large Ram Navami fair planned for Ayodhya from March 25 to April 2 would proceed as usual and that 'Lord Ram would protect devotees from the coronavirus'.
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Later, the journalist tweeted, "I should clarify that it was Acharya Paramhans, Hindutva stalwart and head of the official Ayodhya temple trust, who said Ram would protect devotees from coronavirus, and not Adityanath, though he allowed a public event on 25/3 in defiance of the lockdown and took part himself."
In his statement, Varadarajan called the FIR "politically motivated".