Sunday, June 20, 2021

Ex-IAS officer booked for spreading misinformation: Police

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A former IAS officer has been booked for spreading misinformation by tweeting a seven-year-old photograph of dead bodies floating in the Ganga in Unnao and claiming them to be recent ones spotted in the river in Ballia, police said on Saturday.

Police said the 1982-batch, UP-cadre officer Surya Pratap Singh was booked on May 13 after he tweeted an Unnao picture of 2014 vintage, claiming that bodies being seen in them were spotted a day earlier in the Ganga in Ballia district.

Earlier, officials said, a total of 52 bodies found floating in the Ganga in Ballia district on Tuesday were retrieved and were disposed of after proper last rites.

In an FIR lodged at the Unnao Kotwali police station, the retired IAS officer Singh has also been accused of claiming on social media that 67 bodies were buried on the Unnao riverbank using JCB and without performing any last rites.

Kotwali police station’s SHO Dinesh Chandra Mishra said the case against Singh was lodged on May 13 on complaints by several city residents.

The former outspoken officer had been booked on May 13 after he tweeted the picture of floating bodies and wrote in Hindi, “Tairati laashon aur ukharhtee saanso kaa UP model (The UP model of floating bodies and gasping breaths).”

SHO Mishra said the case against Singh has been booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, the Information Technology Act, the Disaster Management Act and the UP Public Health and Epidemic Diseases Control Ordinance, 2020.

Quoting from the FIR lodged against the former IAS officer, Mishra said the case against Singh was registered on the complaint by various Unnao residents.

He said the residents also accused Singh of falsely claiming on social media that 67 bodies were buried on the riverbank using JCB and without performing their last rites, in an insult to the Hindu religion.

The SHO said the people also accused the former IAS officer of observing on social media that it was the Yogi model of the governance in Uttar Pradesh where the living ones fail to get the treatment and the dead ones their last rites.

“Due to this tweet, the atmosphere of the district became tense. In the probe, the tweet was found to be misleading with old pictures of Unnao linked to Ballia,” Mishra said.

About the authenticity of the floating bodies tweeted by Singh, Mishra said on being contacted, the Social Media Cell of the Unnao Police found that the photograph tweeted by Singh dated back to January 13, 2014, in which around 100 bodies were seen floating on the Ganga in Unnao’s Pariyar Ghat.

Mishra said the IAS officer, by tweeting an old picture of dead bodies floating in the Ganga in Unnao and claiming them to be those spotted in Ballia, has deliberately created a feeling of animosity among people belonging to different religions.

Reacting to the registration of the criminal case against him, Singh, in a fresh tweet asked, “Were no bodies floating in Unnao? Will the truth change after registering a case against me?”

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