Journalist Booked for Questioning UP CM Yogi Adityanath's Visit to Ram Janmabhoomi Amid Lockdown

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The Ayodhya police booked a senior journalist on Wednesday for raising questions on Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's visit to the Ram Janmabhoomi for a religious ceremony amid the lockdown over the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The FIR mentions a tweet by Siddharth Varadarajan, editor of news portal 'The Wire', where he 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."

Varadarajan had clarified in another tweet 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".

Taking the suo-motu cognizance, Faizabad Kotwali police station incharge Nitish Kumar Shrivastava registered an FIR under sections 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) and 505(2) (statements conducing to public mischief) of the Indian Penal Code for doing "disreputable" comment against the chief minister.

Reacting to it, Varadarajan termed the FIR "politically motivated, saying that the offences invoked were not even remotely made out.