Akhilesh, 20 SP workers booked over alleged assault on journalists; cross-FIR filed

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Lucknow, Mar 13 (PTI) Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and 20 party workers have been booked in connection with an alleged assault on some journalists in Uttar Pradesh's Moradabad district, police said on Saturday.

A counter-FIR has been also lodged against the journalists by Samajwadi Party district president Jaiveer Yadav.

On the basis of a complaint by a journalist, an FIR was registered at Pakhwara police station late on Friday night under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), officials said.

According to the complainant, Yadav, the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister, was irked by a few personal questions posed by some journalists during an interaction with him at a hotel on March 11 after a press conference.

Following this, Yadav allegedly instigated his security guards and aides to attack the journalists, the FIR claimed.

It also alleged that the security guards and over 20 SP workers beat up the journalists causing grievous injuries.

The journalists in question claimed, 'We asked many questions about Azam Khan and since Yadav couldn't answer those properly he got irritated and ordered his security guards to force the journalists out. During the scuffle, we got injured.' Superintendent of Police Amit Anand said, TV and CCTV footage would be examined during the probe into the case.

It was initially reported that a journalist had suffered injuries allegedly after being pushed by security personnel guarding Yadav as mediapersons jostled to get a byte from the leader in Moradabad district.

After the incident, Shalabh Mani Tripathi, the media advisor to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, alleged that SP goons badly beat up journalists for asking questions to Yadav, threatened, humiliated and chased them away. 'Many were injured,' he had claimed.

Rejecting the allegation, Samajwadi Party MP from Moradabad Syed Tufail Hasan, who was with Yadav during the incident, said the former chief minister did not refuse to talk to mediapersons.

'Some electronic mediapersons broke the security cordon and fell amid jostling after being stopped by guards. One journalist suffered injuries in his leg and has been sent to a hospital,' Hasan told PTI.

Yadav has expressed grief over the incident, he said.

The Samajwadi Party chief was in Moradabad to attend the wedding of an MLA, Hasan had said.

Tripathi tweeted, 'The most tarnished day in the history of UP after the state guest house incident. Out of power at the moment and yet so much hooliganism. Imagine how intoxicated they must have been when in power.' In his tweet, Tripathi was referring to the attack on BSP supremo Mayawati by SP workers at the state guest house in Lucknow in 1995. PTI CORR NAV NSD NSD