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Journalist illegally arrested and detained for a social media post

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Prashant Kanojia

Journalist

Uttar Pradesh

 

HRDA has issued an urgent appeal to the National Human Rights Commission of India on June 18 2019 regarding the illegal arrest and detention of a Delhi based journalist and human rights defender Prakash Kanojia for sharing a video on social media.

On June 5, 2019 a woman addressed a group of journalists in Lucknow claiming to be in love with the UP Chief Minister Mr. Yogi Adityanath and also claimed that she had been in regular contact with him over video conferencing in the past year. A video clip of this was uploaded on YouTube and this new was published in reputed newspapers including Nabharat Times and Jagran. On June 6, 2019 Mr. Kanojia shared on his twitter account the above said video which had already flashed in the news a day earlier and had captioned it saying “Ishq Chupaye nahin Chupta Yogi Ji”. On June 7, 2019 FIR No. 290/2019, was lodged against Prakash Kanojia by Hazratganj Police Station, Lucknow, alleging offences under Section 500 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and 66 of Information Technology Act (IT Act). On June 8, 2019 some unidentified men in civil dress picked up Mr. Kanojia when he had gone out of his house in Vinod Nagar, New Delhi. In the evening around  6 PM on June 8, 2019, Hazratganj police station issued a press note stating that Mr. Kanojia had been arrested for an inappropriate comment on social media that was objectionable and defamed the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh and that upon “stern questioning" Mr. Kanojia had confessed to the crime and was hence being prosecuted under section 67 IT Act and Sections 500 and 505 of IPC. On June 10, 2019 a Habeus Corpus Petition was filed by the wife of Mr. Kanojia in the Supreme Court of India which led to an order of immediate release on bail on June 11, 2018. This is yet again a glaring example of high handedness, excess, arbitrary and authoritarian misuse of laws by the Hazratganj police.

HRDA has prayed immediate and transparent investigation along with immediate actions against the officials of the Uttar Pradesh for misusing provisions of laws in this case.

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