Prashant Kanojia

Journalist Prashant Kanojia was arrested on August 18, 2020 by Uttar Pradesh Police who claimed that a tweet allegedly posted by him had “disrupted communal harmony.”


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. Many journalists and activists have also been arrested because of social media posts, demonstrating the level of surveillance and crackdown on free speech.

Life and Activism

Freelance journalist Prashant Kanojia was arrested in August 2020 by Uttar Pradesh Police who alleged that a tweet posted by Kanojia had “disrupted communal harmony,” according to The Wire. The police did not initially disclose to Kanojia and his family which tweet the complaint against him had been filed for. Upon releasing the FIR, it was revealed that Kanojia had been arrested for a deleted tweet in which Hindu Army leader Sushil Tiwari said that the Ram temple in Ayodhya should not allow Dalits, STs  and OBCs to enter. Kanojia’s wife later revealed that her husband deleted the tweet because he felt that it was not the right thing to publish.

Charges and Allegations

According to The Wire, Kanojia was charged with 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) of the IPC. Kanojia was also booked under Section 66 of the Information Technology Act, 2000, which pertains to online offenses, according to Scroll.

Current Status

Granted bail in October 2020 after two months in jail

Last Update

Kanojia was initially denied bail by the sessions court in Lucknow and was moved to the high court on September 8, 2020, according to The Wire. The Allahabad high court granted him bail a month later.

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