Journalist arrested for post showing woman claiming to be beloved of Yogi Adityanath
8th June 2019
Lucknow: A journalist was arrested on Saturday for allegedly sharing an ‘objectionable’ post against Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath on social media, police officials familiar with the matter said. A first information report (FIR) was registered against Delhi-based journalist Prashant Kanojia by a sub-inspector at Hazratganj police station on Friday night in which it was alleged that the accused made “objectionable comments against the chief minister and tried to malign his image”. Senior superintendent of police (SSP) of Lucknow Kalanidhi Naithani said charges under Section 500 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) (making defamatory comments) and Section 66 of the IT Act (posting objectionable comments on social media) were slapped on Kanojia. He further said a probe was on and a few people were being questioned in the matter. News agency PTI said that Kanojia had shared a video on Twitter and Facebook where a woman is seen speaking to reporters of various media organisations outside the chief minister’s office claiming that she had sent a marriage proposal to Adityanath. In a press release issued late in the night, Lucknow Police said: “He [Kanojia] has not told about his association with any news agency during interrogation. Probe is on in the matter,” the release said.
Kanojia’s arrest has left journalists shocked evoking angry reactions. Journalist Siddharth Varadarajan wrote on Twitter, “Yes, Prashant Kanojia (@PJkanojia) has been arrested. Picked up by UP police in a shocking abuse of law and attack on free speech rights. He used to be a reporter for @thewirehindi, but is now a freelancer. Arrest shows the fate of rule of law in @myogiadityanath’s jungle raj.”
Journalist Kunal Majumdar tweeted, “According to Amar Ujala, Lucknow Police has issued a warrant to arrest Prashant Kanojia for a social media post on UP CM. Journalist Utpal Pathak tells me Kanojia was arrested today by UP cyber cell based on an FIR lodged by sub-inspector Vikas Kumar at Hajratganj police station.”