The Uttar Pradesh Police arrested journalist Prashant Kanojia from Delhi after a case was filed against him on Saturday for comments made about Chief Minister Adityanath on social media.
A first information report was registered against Kanojia by a sub-inspector at Hazratganj police station on Friday night alleging that the accused made comments “maligning the image of the chief minister”. The case was filed under Section 500 of the Indian Penal Code, which relates to punishment for defamation, and Section 66 of the Information Technology Act, which refers to computer-related offences.
A press statement released by the police on Saturday additionally mentioned Section 67 of the Information Technology Act, which relates to publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form, and Section 505 of the IPC, which penalises statements conducing to public mischief.
Journalists familiar with Kanojia pointed to a tweet, in which a woman is seen claiming to want to marry Adityanath, as the one that the Uttar Pradesh Police had taken objection to. In the video that Kanojia shared, a woman is seen speaking to reporters outside the chief minister’s office claiming that she had been talking to Adityanath over video chat and had sent a marriage proposal to him.
Kanojia was a former journalist at The Wire Hindi. “The fact that cops sent Prashant Kanojia to jail till Monday so he will have to move the courts to come out proves the idea is to intimidate and gag not just the media but the wider public,” Siddharth Vardarajan, the founding editor of The Wire, said on Sunday.
In the press statement, the Uttar Pradesh police asked the public to refrain from publishing posts on social media which disrupted law and order in the state.