Sanjay Rana

19-year-old Sanjay Rana was arrested on March 12, 2023 and charged under the India Penal Code.


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. Rana’s arrest was covered by the Committee to Protect Journalists, which called on the authorities to immediately drop all charges and any investigation against him.

Life and Activism

Journalist Sanjay Rana was arrested in Uttar Pradesh after Shubham Raghav, a local leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) youth wing filed an FIR that stated that Rana was a “fake journalist” who was intentionally damaging government work, according to CPJ’s reporting. Raghav also claimed that Rana assaulted and threatened him at a political event. Rana strongly denied all accusations and said that the arrest was rather in response to his journalistic work. He believes he was arrested because he questioned secondary minister Gulabo Devi’s poll promises at a political event.

According to Newslaundry, Sanjay Rana asked at the event, “You had promised all of us, taken an oath in the temple, that this village is yours and you have adopted this village. You had told the village elders, ‘Tell me what work you need done, I will do it.’ You also said that if you win the elections, you would return to this village. But despite that, you never came back. In Buddh Nagar, there is no baraat ghar. Neither has any government toilet been built. You had said you would pave the road from the temple to here. Even now, the road is so bad that even a bike can’t move on it. You had also specifically said that you will build a boundary wall around the village temple. No work has begun on that. Villagers tried to build pressure on these issues, but you never listened to them. What have you got to say about this?”

Sanjay Rana, a journalist at Moradabad Ujala, was arrested for asking questions — the essence of being a journalist. His editors spoke on his behalf and affirmed that Rana was only doing his job and was arrested for that.

Charges and Allegations

According to Newslaundry, Sanjay Rana was charged under sections 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace) and 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code.  

Current Status

Granted bail 


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