Zakir Ali Tyagi, independent journalist and vice president of rights group NCHRO has been booked by Uttar Pradesh police under the Goondas Act.
The case is registered in Parikshitgarh Police Station in Uttar Pradesh’s Meerut on 25 April this year. 22 year old Tyagi who hails from Meerut, was not aware about the case until after two police officers informed him the case details on 23 June, three months after registering the Goondas Act.
Tyagi said to Maktoob that he was framed by UP Police after his organisation National Confederation of Human Rights Organisations (NCHRO) filed complaints against custodial deaths in the state to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
The FIR accessed by Maktoob talks about many “offences” against Tyagi including the cow slaughter.
“I am a freelance journalist and human rights activist. I carry out my activism by joining the National Confederation of Human Rights Organization (NCHRO), an organization providing legal help to the victims of rights violations. Within six months in UP, eight people have been died in the police custody. We have raised this issue very seriously. A complaint has also been lodged in NHRC for proper investigation of the custodial death of the youth. This is the reason the police is targeting me again and again,” Tyagi told Maktoob.
In 2017, as an 18-year-old living with his family members in Muzaffarnagar, he was arrested by the Uttar Pradesh police for two of his Facebook posts – one of them a joke about the criminal record of then newly appointed chief minister Yogi Adityanath. Tyagi was booked under the Information Technology Act and spent 42 days in jail.
Three years later, in August 2020, UP police arrested Tyagi again. Meerut’s Qila Parikshitgarh police had booked him for alleged cow slaughter, a crime that carries a sentence of 10 years in prison under the Uttar Pradesh Prevention of Cow Slaughter Act. According to the FIR against unknown persons on August 23, Munneshwar, a farmer in Aminabad alerted them to cow slaughter after he found the hide of a cow in his field. The police arrested Tyagi and another Muslim resident of Aminabad who was 17 year old. Tyagi and Ahmad spent 16 days in jail before they were granted bail.
“If fighting for the society, talking about the human rights and doing journalism come under the category of Goondas Act, then I am a goon and the pen is my weapon and I won’t let the spirit of Journalism die, I will continue the constitutional fight with the administration through activism also,” Tyagi, who is strongly critical of right-wing politics in his Facebook and Twitter posts, said.