Hours after the arrest of freelance journalist Prashant Kanojia by the UP Police, social media came out in support of the journalist condemning his arrest as illegal and demanding his release.
#ReleasePrashantKanjoia began trending on Twitter earlier this morning with many opposition leaders taking a strong stand while some individuals supported the police action against his tweets.
Notable Human Rights Lawyer Karuna Nundy tweeted that “if an arrest is outside the law, not even a bonafide mistake of law, then it’s a kidnapping.”
The arrest.of @PJkanojia appears illegal because:
1. Section 500 IPC is on defamation, it’s a private complainant, you can only be arrested if a court has convicted you of the offence.
2. Section 66 concerns causing damage to a computer system and doesn’t apply here https://t.co/BSZXO2oeKw— Karuna Nundy (@karunanundy) June 8, 2019
Mr Kanojia also received support from his former employers and colleagues in the media
UP police says @PJkanojia has been arrested under Sec 67 of IT Act (though there was nothing remotely ‘obscene’ or ‘lascivious’ in his posts on @myogiadityanath), Sec 505 of IPC (Read 505 to see how laughable this charge is https://t.co/xnfjLU6SiS) #ReleasePrashantKanojia 1/n— Siddharth (@svaradarajan) June 9, 2019
The Congress Party spokespersons, otherwise debarred from publicly representing the party on media platforms came out in support in their personal capacity.
Can someone please help me here???? How many celebrity TV anchors are tweeting about this? #ReleasePrashantKanojia . Who??
If they can’t stand up for one of their own, do you think you stand a chance? #RIPIndianMedia— Sanjay Jha (@JhaSanjay) June 9, 2019
The arrest however, did receive considerable support from several private citizens sharing their views on Twitter and Facebook. A casual glance at Mr Kanojia’s past tweets reflects some distasteful tweets but do not clearly express reasonable cause for the charges that he faces from the UP Police.
BJP Spokesperson Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga, who himself was detained in West Bengal shortly before the 2019 election results and received widespread support from even his detractors tweeted that Mr Kanojia should have another FIR filed against him for an earlier distasteful tweet from his handle.
It remains clear that Mr Kanojia’s past tweets do not reflect any mature opinion that is expected from a verified Twitter handle. However, his arrest still reflects an overreaction from the UP Administration.
When a journalist is arrested by Yogi cops for a tweet, and we speak up, no one can say where were you when cartoonist was arrested and another for anti Sonia fb post under UPA?
Errr…we all spoke up and wrote.— rama lakshmi (@RamaNewDelhi) June 8, 2019
Online Media Site Opindia.com expressed support of the Chief Minister and the action against Prashant Kanojia in light of his earlier tweets equating Dalits to animals. Mr Kanojia will apply for bail tomorrow.