Gorakhpur DM K Vijayendra Pandian on Wednesday allegedly threatened a Delhi-based journalist of imprisonment under the NSA after he called up Pandian to take ‘official version’ of a story relating to alleged ‘forceful eviction’ of 11 Muslim families residing near the famous Gorakhnath temple in the city.

Masihuzzama Ansari, who works with a news portal named Indiatomorrow.in, told National Herald that Pandian enquired about his religion and then, in “an insulting tone”, threatened to slap the NSA on him for “creating enmity between two communities”.

In an audio clip of the purported telephone conversation, Pandian allegedly says, “You also have a Muslim name…Rise above your religion Ansari”.

Ansari claimed that when he told Pandian that he had called him up to ascertain the facts and take the official version, the DM allegedly said, “Why are you giving it a religious tone? They (Muslim families) are giving up their lands on their own. They have signed a consent letter.”

Ansari contended that he called Pandian on Wednesday evening to ascertain whether the Muslims had agreed to sell their land on their own or were forced to sign the consent papers as alleged in certain quarters.

“All will be sent to jail…Whoever publishes the report, will be jailed…You are breaching their privacy…They have given their consent…We will file an FIR and name those who publish the report on the internet,” the DM allegedly said. “Halki fulki dhara nahi, NSA lagaunga,” the person on the other side can be heard saying in the audio clip recorded and shared by Ansari.

Ansari filed a complaint on Wednesday with the National Human Right Commission (NHRC) demanding action against Pandian.

“I have recordings of both the DM and the families which I can produce as evidence. A person who is holding an important administrative post with constitutional authority threatens a journalist and makes religious comments…It is not according to the idea of justice,” wrote Ansari in his complaint which he registered on NHRC’s portal.

As per a report published in The Quint, Muslim families living near the Gorakhnath temple have agreed to vacate their houses and give their land to the administration for the temple’s security. However, some of the signatories mentioned in the report claimed that they were forced to sign the consent letter.

A resident was quoted as saying that they were being forcefully evicted by the UP Police to make a police chowki on their land holdings. The DM has been quoted as saying by The Quint, “They (Muslims) were going to get crores of rupees for their land”.

Reacting to the development, chief of the UP Congress minority department, Shahnawaz Alam said that the DM must be suspended immediately.

“Press is the fourth pillar of democracy. Media’s job is to question the government and the government’s job is to answer the media and the people. Under the BJP government, no one is secure, be it a common man or a journalist. How will democracy survive if an elected government continues to work like this?” Alam said.

This story was first appeared on nationalheraldindia.com