Editor-in-chief and chief managing irector of a news channel, who was arrested for allegedly promoting enmity between different groups here, on Friday was granted bail by a court here.
District Magistrate of Sambhal Bhupendra S Chaudhary said Suresh Chavhanke was produced before junior division judicial magistrate, where he was granted bail.
Chavhanke on the other hand termed police action against him as improper and was initially reluctant to take bail. But, after administrative officials convinced him, he relented, officials said.
Superintendent of Police Ravi Shankar Chhavi said, “Cases were registered against Chavhanke, Itrat Hussain Babar and Sanjay Shankhdhar for promoting enmity between different groups, inciting fear among the people and disturbing the communal amity.”
Chavhanke was arrested on April 12 night by Sambhal police with the help of Lucknow police from the Chowdhury Charan Singh Airport, when he was about to leave the city.
An FIR was lodged against him under various sections of the IPC including those dealing with promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth and over content to cause, or which is likely to cause, fear or alarm to the public, or to any section of the public and other sections on April 10 in Sambhal.
Provisions related to deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion and Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Amendment Act, 2000, had also been invoked against him.
It was alleged that the channel had telecast a programme in which its Chavhanke dished out objectionable content because of which tension prevailed in the city.
The FIR was registered by the SHO when the matter was raised during a meeting of the Peace Committee in Sambhal on April 9, in which prominent citizens pointed out the programme telecast between April 6 to April 8.
Chavhanke had in a statement condemned “any attempt to suppress and intimidate the media”.
The Centre had earlier assured the Rajya Sabha that it would take action against the TV channel.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi had said, “We cannot allow anyone to disturb peace and communal harmony.”
“Media’s independence is one thing but it cannot be so free that it spreads communal disharmony in various parts of the country. We have taken note of it and will take action,” Naqvi had said.