A freelance journalist, Prashant Kanojia, was arrested from his east Delhi residence by Uttar Pradesh Police on Tuesday afternoon after an FIR was filed against him in Lucknow for allegedly “morphing” a social media post made by the member of an outfit called the Hindu Army, and then tweeting it.
The FIR was filed at Lucknow’s Hazratganj police station on Monday evening.
Kanojia had been arrested from his Delhi residence by UP Police in June last year for allegedly making “objectionable comments” and “propagating defamatory content” against UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. He was later released.
According to the FIR, filed on the basis of a complaint by sub-inspector Dinesh Kumar Shukla, a Facebook post by Hindu Army’s Sushil Tiwari was morphed, and was tweeted by Kanojia “with intention to malign” Tiwari’s fame.
The post is no longer on the journalist’s Twitter timeline.
Station House Officer of Hazratganj police station Ashwini Kumar Pandey told The Indian Express that a sub-inspector from the police station had gone to Delhi to arrest Kanojia on Monday night.
Pandey said the police team will reach Lucknow with Kanojia around 2 or 3 am on Wednesday, and the journalist will be questioned later in the day.
According to the FIR, Kanojia posted a morphed photo which read that SC, ST and OBC persons are not to be allowed into Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, with a caption stating that this was on “Tiwari’s orders”. The FIR says this image was a morphed version of a Facebook post by Tiwari.
The FIR has been filed under IPC Sections dealing with promoting enmity between different communities, forgery, dishonesty, defamation, publishing rumour, and assertions prejudicial to national integration, along with relevant sections of IT Act.
It states, “Such kind of objectionable posts are creating enmity between communities along with adverse effect on the social harmony, and hurt the religious sentiments which can destroy social peace.”
Kanojia’s wife Jagisha Arora told The Indian Express, “Around 1 pm, six-seven men, who claimed to be from UP Police, came home and arrested him (Kanojia). Only one of them was wearing uniform. When we asked (why he was being arrested), they said this was the order they had received. We weren’t told who filed an FIR, and over what.”
A Delhi Police officer confirmed that “two police personnel from UP came and filed a DD [daily diary] entry at Kishangarh police station, and detained him.”
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