Delhi-based Journalist Prashant Kanojia arrested by UP police for “some tweets”

Cops say they have orders “from above” to arrest the journalist, he was booked by UP police in April 2020 as well

prashant kanojia

Uttar Pradesh Police has, once again arrested Delhi-based journalist Prashant Kanojia, for the second time this year, allegedly over his social media posts. He was arrested on Tuesday, August 18, from his south Delhi residence and taken to the local police station. Kanojia will reportedly be taken to Lucknow for further investigation “in connection with some tweets”. After a few journalists broke the news on social media, Prashant Kanojia confirmed it with a retweet.



Soon, his wife Jagisha Arora, also a journalist, also confirmed it.  



She told The Wire that the UP police came to their house on Tuesday afternoon to arrest him. She told the news portal that, almost all the police personnel were “wearing civil clothes, only one cop was in police uniform. They arrested Prashant and said, ‘Tweet ka maamla hai.’ When I asked them which tweet are they talking about, they said, ‘Bohot tweet kiye hain tumney, upar sey orders aaye hain humein, follow toh karna padega’.”  (Translation: It’s about tweets, you have tweeted a lot, the orders have come from above, we have to follow them.)

In April this year, Kanojia was booked for allegedly making some ‘objectionable remarks’ against the Prime Minister, and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister.  That complaint had been made by Shashank Shekhar Singh, a BJP leader, and a FIR was registered on the charges of defamation, printing or engraving matter known to be defamatory, circulating mischievous comments and obscenity under the Information and Technology Act. In 2019, he was arrested by the Lucknow police for allegedly making objectionable posts against CM Adityanath. He was released on bail by the Supreme Court after protests were  held against his arrest in various parts of the country. 

After his arrest for the second time this year, many voices have risen on social media, in his support, and against the ongoing attacks, and targeting on journalists across the country, and in particular in Uttar Pradesh and Delhi. 

Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad said Bahujan journalist Kanojia’s arrest was a “testimony to the dictatorial attitude of the Uttar Pradesh government. Now the government is suffering due to people reading and writing. We are constantly surrounded by times of emergency,”. He has demanded that the  “immediate release” of Kanojia must be ensured. 



Scores of journalists, writers and activists have spoken out in Kanojia’s support and demanded his release. “No written orders or details were shared. He will be taken from Vasant Vihar to Lucknow, UP shortly #Release_Prashant_Kanojia,” posted writer Meena Kandasamy.



The Wire states that according to their sources this time “Kanojia has been arrested in relation to a tweet in which he had shared a morphed image of a poster with the name of Sushil Tiwari of the Hindu Army on it.” However, his wife told The Wire that Kanojia never posted the tweets he has purportedly been arrested for and said that the screenshot has been morphed. “You can check his Twitter, you will not find the tweet anywhere,” she told The Wire. 

The FIR against Kanojia is dated August 17, and was filed by one Dinesh Kumar Shukla. Kanojia has been booked under Section 66 of the Information Technology Act, 2000, as well as various sections of the Indian Penal Code. They include: Sections are 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, etc), 153B (assertions prejudicial to national-integration), 420 (cheating), 465 (forgery), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating), 469 (forgery for purpose of harming reputation), 500 (defamation), 500 (1)(B) (likely to cause, fear or alarm to the public, or to any section of the public whereby any person may be induced to commit an offence against the State or against the public tranquility), and 505(2) ( promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes).



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