18:02 GMT18 January 2021
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): The arrest of a Delhi-based journalist has divided public opinion, and the Editors Guild of India swiftly called for his release. However, some BJP supporters have hailed the arrest, calling the journalist “Hinduphobic”.

    The arrest of a journalist in India for sharing an unverified video of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister has sparked a row, with some defending the move and others branding it an attack on freedom of speech and expression.      

    Prashant Kanojia allegedly shared "objectionable" content against Chief Minister of the Uttar Pradesh state and ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Yogi Adityanath.

    He tweeted a video about a woman claiming that she was in a relationship with Adityanath and she wished to marry him. He also posted a comment taunting the BJP leader over the matter. 

    A police complaint against the tweet was registered in Lucknow. He was subsequently arrested on Saturday afternoon by Uttar Pradesh Police while in his home in Delhi.

    The arrest evoked furore amongst media and activist circles, with many demanding his immediate release.

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    However, some BJP supporters shot back at Kanojia, singling out one of his old tweets from 2016 in which he seemed to call for the killing of Hindu saints.

    Some social media users branded him a "Hinduphobic liar" who has been spreading fake news, and hailed the arrest by Uttar Pradesh police.

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    Meanwhile, Jagisha Arora, the wife of Kanojia, has moved a petition in the apex court of India calling for his release.

    The Editors Guild of India, a body of Indian journalists, also condemned the arrest of Kanojia, calling it a "Brazen misuse of power".

    In a press statement issued on Sunday, the Guild said "Whatever the accuracy of the woman's claims, to register a case of criminal defamation against the journalists for sharing it on the social media and airing it on a television channel is a brazen misuse of law. To give the police powers to arrest, provisions of Section 66 of the IT Act have also been added."


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    journalism, arrest, Bharatiya Janata party (BJP), Yogi Adityanath, India
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