Dhaval Patel

Journalist and editor of Face of Nation Dhaval Patel was arrested on May 11, 2020 in Gujarat and charged with sedition and spreading false news during the COVID-19 pandemic.


The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Hindu nationalist party led by current Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has been strategically targeting Indian journalists, specifically those critical of the Indian government, since it took power in 2014. According to The Wire, at least 194 journalists were targeted across the country and by state agencies, non-state political actors, and armed opposition groups in 2022.

Activists and human rights advocates have expressed grave concerns over the immense crackdown on free speech in India, according to Wired. Patel’s arrest was covered by the Committee to Protect Journalists, which called on the authorities in Gujarat to immediately release Patel and drop all charges against him.

Life and Activism

Journalist Dhaval Patel allegedly published a report in May 2020, in which he suggested a change in Gujarat leadership due to growing criticism of the state’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Indian Express. According to the police, Patel’s news story titled “Mansukh Mandaviya called by high command, chances of leadership change in Gujarat” attributed the potential change in leadership to rising COVID-19 cases in Gujarat and to the fact that New Delhi was aware of the “failures” and shortcomings of Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani. Union Minister Mansukh Mandaviya denied the rumors, according to Scroll.

Charges and Allegations

Patel was booked under India Penal Code (IPC) section 124A (sedition) and Disaster Management Act section 54 (Punishment for false warning), according to The Indian Express.

Current Status

Case was reversed.

Last Update

In November 2020, the Gujarat High Court (HC) quashed the sedition case after Patel filed an unconditional apology “without admission of any guilt” for the “allegedly offending article,” according to The Indian Express. The Court also warned Patel from writing and publishing any similar article in the future.

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