Why Rajasthan Police Are Looking For News18's Aman Chopra
News18's Aman Chopra alleged in his show that the 300-year-old temple in Rajasthan was razed as revenge for demolition drive in Delhi's Jahangirpuri.
The Rajasthan Police have been trying to arrest TV journalist Aman Chopra for a few days now. However, the journalist, accused of trying to create enmity between different groups and hurting religious sentiments through his show on News18 Hindi, has been elusive.
According to reports, three FIRs have been registered against Chopra in Bundi, Alwar and Dungarpur districts of Rajasthan. The charges against him have been filed under sections pertaining to sedition, outraging religious sentiments, promoting enmity between two groups, and under the IT Act on April 23.
While Chopra got a stay from the Rajasthan High Court on his arrest in two FIRs in Bundi and Alwar, he is facing an arrest warrant following a local court order in Dungarpur district, police said while speaking to PTI.
A team of Rajasthan Police reached Chopra's office in Noida last week, but he wasn't there. The police later went to his home also, but wasn't found there as well.
As the chase game between Rajasthan Police and journalist Aman Chopra continues, here is a background of the case and chronology of events.
Who is Aman Chopra?
Aman Chopra is a TV journalist, working as prime time anchor with News18 Hindi. He hosts daily prime time show called 'Desh Nahi Jhukne Denge' which has been know for promoting anti-muslim and Islamophobic themes. According to a report in the Maktoob, Chopra conducted around 36 such debates months ahead of assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh.
Why is Rajasthan Police looking for him?
On April 22, Chopra in his show implied that a temple had been demolished in Congress-ruled Rajasthan as revenge for demolition drive of Muslim properties in Delhi's Jahangirpuri. The show, according to a report in Newslaundry, involved slokas, an on-screen dharna, and a "secular" bulldozer. The temple in question was a 300-year-old Shiva temple demolished in Sarai Mohalla, Rajgarh in Alwar and was among several other structures razed for the construction of a "Gaurav Path", according to reports.
Timeline of events
On April 22, Chopra did a show alleging that the Rajasthan temple demolition was done in response to the demolition drive done in Delhi's Jahangirpuri days after communal clashes broke in the area. Chopra had invited BJP spokesperson Shehzad Poonawala, Congress spokesperson Abhay Dubey, Samajwadi Party spokesperson Rajkumar Bhati, Karni Sena leader Soorajpal Ammu, "spiritual leader" Swami Dipankar, and BJP's Mahant Balaknath for his panel.
Poonawala sat on the steps of the studio during the show as a mark of protest, while the show majorly had shouting matches between the panelists.
Following the show, FIRs were filed against Chopra for 'insulting religious beliefs, promoting enmity, and various other sections.' On May 1, a team of Rajasthan Police showed up at News18's office in Noida, but the journalist wasn't there. For the next two days, Chopra didn't host his show.
The police officials said that they left a notice at his office under section 91 of the Code of Criminal Procedure to which he was to respond by by May 5.
Chopra then approached the Rajasthan high court seeking quashing of the FIRs. The court granted him the stay on May 7 in two cases. But on May 8, the cop again reached Noida to arrest him in the third case. His home was found to be locked.
"This was the second time that our team went to arrest Chopra. Much like the previous instance, a Sub-Inspector of the UP Police took our team to a police station and made the team to wait on the pretext of details of the case. Our Additional SP had already briefed them on the case against Chopra who faces arrest warrant from a Dungarpur court," The Indian Express quoted Dungarpur SP Sudhir Joshi as saying.
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