Akhilesh, 20 SP workers booked over alleged assault of 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 of 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 Pakbara 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 injuring them grievously.

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.' Reacting to the development, Akhilesh Yadav tweeted a copy of the FIR and said, 'The FIR, which has been registered against me by the UP government, is being published in the interest of every citizen of the state.' 'If needed, the FIR would be put up on hoardings in state capital Lucknow. This FIR is a symbol of dejection of the BJP which is on the path of defeat,' he said in the tweet in hindi.

On the complaint of the Samajwadi Party's Moradabad district unit president Jaiveer Singh Yadav, an FIR has been registered against two persons.

The complaint stated, 'Before the press conference commenced, around 5 pm two persons Fareed Shamsi and Uvaidul Rehman, who introduced themselves as journalists were continuously hurling accusations on security personnel and workers.

'After the press conference ended, around 7.30 pm, they after flashing their identity cards tried to defy the security cordon, and forcibly tried to take the byte of the former chief minister.' It was alleged in the cross-FIR that they pushed the security personnel, beat them up and tried to act as if they were unconscious along with their cameras, and lay on the ground. 'Both of them tarnished the image of the former chief minister as a part of a pre-planned conspiracy,' Yadav said in the complaint.

He also claimed that a staff attached to Yadav's security detail was seriously injured and was admitted to a district hospital in Moradabad, from where he was referred to Lucknow for better treatment.

Moradabad 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 NAV CORR NSD