New Delhi: The wife of Delhi-based journalist Prashant Kanojia, who was arrested Friday evening for allegedly maligning the image of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, has moved the Supreme Court for his release.
Jagisha Arora, Kanojia’s wife, has claimed that the police officers who arrested her husband failed to follow proper procedure and therefore his arrest is illegal.
“I don’t have much clarity myself. It all happened in five minutes or so. Prashant had gone downstairs. When he came back, he said he has to change his clothes as he has to go with the two men,” Jagisha said.
“The station house officer made me speak to my husband yesterday (Saturday) at 10.30 in the night. He told me he is okay and asked me to stay well too,” she added.
Shadan Farasat, Jagisha’s advocate, told the court the first information report (FIR) against Kanojia was illegal and that no warrant had been issued.
He said, “FIR is illegal because under defamation law there is no need for FIR and it is only for the magistrate to act, not the police. The offenses mentioned in FIR are bailable.”
The Supreme Court will hear the matter Tuesday
The arrest, along with those of the editor and owner of a television channel in Noida that aired the video, sparked a huge debate on social media on freedom of expression in the country.
Two more people were arrested in Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh, the Chief Minister’s stronghold, Sunday evening. According to a tweet by police, one man was arrested after a complaint against him was received on Twitter. He was arrested for posting “objectionable content” about the BJP leader.
The Editors Guild of India, in a statement released Sunday, called the arrest “high-handed and arbitrary” and said it amounted to “authoritarian misuse of laws”.
A freelance journalist, Kanojia had been arrested after he had shared a video on Twitter and Facebook in which a woman is seen speaking to reporters of various media organisations outside Yogi Adityanath’s office, claiming that she had sent him a marriage proposal.
Kanoja, 26, was arrested after a complaint by a sub-inspector in Lucknow’s Hazratganj Police Station, under charges relating to Section 500 of the Indian Penal Code and Section 66 of the IT Act.
He is currently lodged in Lucknow Jail.