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‘Abuse of Law’: Twitter Slams Arrest of Delhi Journalist

Kanojia was arrested allegedly for spreading rumours about Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

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Freelance journalist Prashant Kanojia.
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The arrest of freelance journalist Prashant Kanojia has triggered massive outrage on social media, with several users employing #ReleasePrashantKanojia in their tweets demanding that the Delhi scribe be freed immediately.

Kanojia was picked up by the UP Police on Saturday, 8 June, for a social media post on Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath. He had shared a video of a woman who claimed that she had been video-calling the chief minister and that she wanted to marry him.

Kanojia is a former employee of news portal The Wire, whose founding editor Siddharth Varadarajan called the arrest “a shocking abuse of law and attack on free speech.”

Although police refused to confirm which social media post Kanojia has been arrested for, the journalist had, on 6 June, shared a video on his Facebook account where a woman is seen speaking to several reporters outside the CM’s office, alleging that she had been talking to Adityanath for nearly a year through video calls.

Kanojia had shared the video on Facebook with a purported sarcastic remark of his own which said, “Yogi ji video chatting kar sakate ho, to ishq ka izahaar kyon nahin? Yogi ji aap daro nahin, mat socho samaaj kya kahega bas bhaag jao ham sab aapakee shaadee karava denge. (Yogi ji, if you can chat via video call, why can’t you confess your love? Yogi ji, don’t be afraid, don’t think what the society will say, just elope. We are all with you, we will get you married).”

Lawyer and activist Prashant Bhushan tweeted saying that the arrest of a journalist over a sarcastic tweet was “an absurd and gross abuse of police.”

Other journalists, too, tweeted condemning the arrest.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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