Prashant Kanojia, a freelance journalist, was arrested from his Delhi residence by the Uttar Pradesh police Tuesday afternoon.
His wife Jagisha Kanojia told Newslaundry that the journalist was taken away by five men in plainclothes and one in police uniform. When the family asked the reason for the arrest, she added, one of the men said, “Upar se order aaya hai, arrest toh karna padega.” We have got orders from the top to arrest him.
Subsequently, they were told the arrest was in connection with some tweets made by Kanojia. The police told Jagisha they were taking her husband to the Vasant Vihar police station, where they would obtain a transit remand to take him to Lucknow.
An FIR was registered against Kanojia at Lucknow’s Hazratganj police station on August 17. The FIR alleges Kanojia had tried to “harm the image” of one Sushil Tiwari of the Hindu Army.
According to the FIR, Kanojia distorted a Facebook message about the “inclusion of vedic studies” in school curricula posted by Tiwari. A screenshot doing the rounds of social media shows Kanojia’s verified handle quote tweeting Tiwari’s post with a morphed message about “raising voice against Ram Mandir barring the entry of OBC, SC and ST communities”. Kanojia’s friend, Puneet, confirmed to Newslaundry that Parshant did pick up the morphed post from Facebook and later deleted it. The alleged tweet dated 16 August 2020 can’t be found on Parshant Kanojia’s Twitter timeline.
Kanojia was as well, for a tweet that allegedly “defamed” Uttar Pradesh chief minister Adityanath. He was later granted bail by the Supreme Court, which slammed the Adityanath regime for jailing him, but chose not to comment about the nature of the journalist’s tweets.
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