Journalist Prashant Kanojia arrested over tweets on Ram Mandir

The Hindu Army had put up posters which read, “Jaago Hindu jaago” in sensitive areas like the Tilewali Mosque in Lucknow.

New Delhi: The Uttar Pradesh Police arrested journalist Prashant Kanojia from his Delhi residence on Tuesday afternoon over his tweet which the police says had disrupted communal harmony.

Initially, the police had not made it clear to Kanojia and his family over which tweet the complaint against him had been registered.

But the FIR released by the police directs to a deleted tweet URL. The description of the alleged offence says that Kanojia’s tweet had shown Hindu Army leader Sushil Tiwari as saying the Ram temple in Ayodhya should not allow Dalits, STs and OBCs entry.

The tweet could not be found on his profile profile but social media users shared a screenshot of the tweet allegedly posted on 16 August. Here is an archived version of the tweet.

Prashant Kanojia wrote, “It is Tiwari Ji’s direction that entry for SC/ST/OBC be banned in the Ram Mandir and everybody should raise their voice for this.”

Jagisha Arora, Kanojia’s wife said, “The UP police came to our house half an hour [before the arrest]. Almost all of them were wearing civil clothes, only one cop was in police uniform. They arrested Prashant and said, ‘Tweet ka maamla hai.’ When I asked them which tweet are they talking about, they said, ‘Bohot tweet kiye hain tumney, upar sey orders aaye hain humein, follow toh karna padega’,” reported The Wire.

While the UP police would not comment on Prashant Kanojia’s whereabouts, indications are that he is being taken to Lucknow.

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The Hindu Army is a group which reportedly came into existence in 2019. In January this year, the Hindu Army had put up posters which read, “Jaago Hindu jaago” in sensitive areas like the Tilewali Mosque in Lucknow. There are several videos of Tiwari still available on YouTube in which he openly incites Hindus to boycott Muslim vegetable sellers, hair cutting salons etc. Here is one such YouTube video of Sushil Tiwari:

The FIR against the journalist invokes nine sections of the Indian Penal Code. Sections are 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony), 153B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national-integration), 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), 465 (punishment for forgery), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating), 469 (forgery for purpose of harming reputation), 500 (punishment for defamation), 500 (1)(B) (with intent to cause, or which is likely to cause, fear or alarm to the public, or to any section of the public whereby any person may be induced to commit an offence against the State or against the public tranquility), and 505(2) (statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes), The Wire reported.

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Kanojia has also been booked under Section 66 of the Information Technology Act, 2000, which pertains to computer-related offences.

In 2019, Prashant Kanojia was arrested by the same Uttar Pradesh Police for posting a tweet and a Facebook post on Chief Minister Adityanath. The Supreme Court, later, had asked the government to release him.

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