The Uttar Pradesh assembly today summoned editors and reporters of news channels Aaj Tak and India Today TV, after a house committee indicted them for promoting enmity between different groups during the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots by airing a “fake sting operation” concerning senior minister Azam khan.
A seven-member panel headed by Satish Kumar Nigam had submitted its report to the House on February 16, concluding that Aaj Tak sought had sought to put Khan in the dock without “adequate evidence” while giving him a clean chit.
During discussion, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and Leader of Opposition Swami Prasad Maurya (BSP) held the channel responsible for ‘Charitra Hanan’ (character assassination) of Azam Khan.
Before deciding on recommendation of Nigam committee report, members suggested summoning the then officials of Aaj Tak and TV Today for presenting their side of the story, a proposal approved with voice vote.
On Tuesday, Speaker Mata Prasad Pandey initiated the debate on the committee report. Leader of Opposition Swami Prasad Maurya suggested that the staff members of the channels be given a chance to present their case, and after that strong action should be taken.
Supporting this, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav said: “I also feel that as per the suggestion of the House, it should move in the same direction.” The Speaker tabled the proposal to summon the concerned staff on February 26 before taking a final decision, which was passed by voice vote.
According to reports, the nine journalists against whom the action has been recommended under several sections of the IPC include Supriya Prasad (Managing Editor-Aaj Tak), Rahul Kanwal (Managing Editor-Headlines Today), Deepak Sharma, Arun Singh, Harish Sharma (all members of the then Special Investigations Team) Manish Kumar (Output Head, Aaj Tak), journalists/anchors Punya Prasoon Bajpayee, Gaurav Sawant and Padmaja Joshi.
The six-member committee has recommended the assembly to consider charging them under various sections including 153 (A), 295 (A), 200, 463, 464 & 465, 469, 471 of IPC.