The police in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, on Friday summoned journalist Vinod Dua in connection with a sedition charge levelled against him by local Bharatiya Janata Party leader Ajay Shyam, PTI reported. Dua said he has approached the Supreme Court against the first information report registered in Shimla.
The summons came two days after the Delhi High Court stayed an FIR filed against Dua for allegedly spreading fake news through his YouTube show on communal violence in Delhi in February. The FIR filed in Shimla is also related to the show.
According to the complainant, Dua accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of using “deaths and terror attacks” to get votes. Shyam claimed that Dua had instigated violence against the government and the prime minister by spreading “fake news”.
Rampur Deputy Superintendent of Police Abhimanyu Verma said Dua has been asked to join the investigation at Kumarsain Police Station in Shimla district on Saturday.
“We came to know about this FIR last night,” Dua told PTI on Friday. “It was filed on June 6, while I was contacted last night by e-mail and today morning the Himachal Pradesh police landed at my place at 6:58 am. I don’t know whether they sought the permission of the Delhi Police or not as per law.”
Dua alleged that the filing of the FIR was a “coordinated effort”. Since it takes 14 to 16 hours to travel from Kumarsain to Delhi, he said, the Shimla Police must have arrived in Delhi much earlier.
In his reply to the notice, Dua said he cannot visit Kumarsain Police Station on Saturday due to his health, age and the travel restrictions in place because of the coronavirus pandemic. But Superintendent of Police Khushal Sharma said Dua has agreed to join the probe through email or any other online method.
“My concern is that the Supreme Court petition has been filed and if the hearing is tonight [Friday] it’s fine, tomorrow morning [Saturday] is also fine,” Dua told PTI. “But if is does not happen by then, and I am not there [in Kumarsain] by 10 am tomorrow [Saturday], can they take coercive action since their team is already here.”
Communal violence had erupted between supporters and opponents of the Citizenship Amendment Act in Delhi in February, leading to the deaths of 53 people, and injuries to hundreds.