Supreme Court yesterday ordered immediate release of controversial ex-Wire journalist Prashant Kanojia, who was arrested on Saturday by UP Police after an FIR was lodged against him for spreading rumours and making obscene comments on social media.
Kanojia had tweeted ‘You cannot hide true love, Yogi ji’ while sharing a video of a woman who had turned up at the UP CM Yogi Adityanath’s residence with a love letter. As a Hindu monk who has taken an oath of lifelong celibacy, such slander is especially hurtful for Yogi and Hindus at large.
Kanojia has also made several derogatory comments against Hindus and Hindu Dharma in the past, such as ‘Dalits who go to Hindu temples are animals with no brain’, ‘Hinduism is a useless religion’, ‘Kill all Hindu saints’.
A vacation bench of the Supreme Court comprising Justices Indira Banerjee and Ajay Rastogi observed that Kanojia arrest and remand were ‘illegal, violating the principle of Liberty enshrined in the constitution’.
Rejecting the UP Government’s argument that the UP High Court should have been first approached in the case as is the norm, the Supreme Court said, “Have you ever some across remand for 11 days in such a case? Sit behind the bars day after day and challenge the order? That is not a very fair stand.”
However, SC mandated that proceedings against Kanojia will continue as per law and that its order should not be interpreted as approval for his comments on social media.
The Supreme Court stance in this case seems to be quite different from the rulings it gave in other similar cases, and netizens were quick to point out the apparent double standards.
1.) Priyanka Sharma case
While hearing the case of BJP worker Priyanka Sharma who was arrested in West Bengal for sharing a funny meme taking a gentle dig at WB CM Mamata Banerjee, the very same Justice Indira Banerjee had first ordered Sharma to apologise before being granted bail, and had stated that freedom of expression cannot impinge upon another person’s rights.
— Narayan🇮🇳 (@bns5) June 11, 2019
Funny meme on Mamata
Justice Banerjee:FOE can't impinge on another person's rights. Apologise😡
— Sir Jadeja fan (@SirJadeja) June 11, 2019
The same #SupremeCourt judge wanted Priyanka Sharma to apologise before being granted bail. That is, admission of guilt without trial. Order was amended to apology after bail.— Kanchan Gupta (@KanchanGupta) June 11, 2019
In one case, #FreeSpeech is negotiable. In another, it's non-negotiable. Worrying times. #India https://t.co/5snYGPfzJS
2.) Kamlesh Tiwari case
Hindu activist Kamlesh Tiwari was arrested under the draconian NSA (National Security Act), which allows detention without bail or trial, by the Samajwadi Government of UP in Dec 2015 for allegedly insulting the prophet of Islam after SP leader Azam Khan called RSS members homosexuals.
There were nation-wide protests and violence by Muslim mobs demanding sharia-style hanging for Kamlesh Tiwari’s act of ‘blasphemy’. Yet, courts took no cognizance of this organized mass mobilization & threats against a man who’s crime was yet to be established.
8 months after his arrest, when Tiwari approached SC in Aug 2016 to challenge the slapping of NSA against him, Supreme Court lobbed the petition back to Allahabad High Court. Finally, after spending 10 months in jail, the last month in solitary confinement, Kamlesh Tiwari walked free after Allahabad High Court quashed the application of NSA & gave him bail.
Does this fit in free speech? If yes, then why was Kamlesh Tiwari arrested? SC didn't order his release, as it has now, in case of #PrashantKanojia.
Moral of the story : Left-Lib lobby still powerful. Hypocrisy is evident. You can get away with abusing Hinduism. pic.twitter.com/aWoedKY8Y2
— Devika (@Dayweekaa) June 11, 2019
3.) Baduria Minor case
In this shocking case, a minor 16-year-old Hindu boy from Baduria, WB was arrested by police for an allegedly objectionable FB post that led to rioting and one death. The minor boy was treated as an adult criminal and rotted in jail for over a month, until a human rights organization Hindu Samhati stepped in and proved using his birth certificated that the boy was indeed a juvenile and should be treated thus.
While the case never reached Supreme Court, it is also a telling indictment on Hindu society that no high-profile lawyers or activist group managed to create the sort of pressure we have witnessed for Prashant Kanojia.
4.) Sunny Gupta case
Engineering student Sunny Gupta was arrested for ‘cyber terrorism’ by Mumbai police over a Facebook post suggesting that Hindus should refrain from visiting the Ajmer Sharif dargah in Rajasthan. He languished in jail for 45 days, despite only re-iterating factual history about how the Sufi founder of the Ajmer dargah Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, who accompanied the barbaric invader Muhammad Ghori, nursed a deep hatred against the ‘infidel’ Hindus.
Once again, no free speech warrior made Sunny a cause-celebre and tried to uphold his ‘sacrosanct and non-negotiable right to liberty’.
5.) Mahesh Vikram Hegde case
The founder of news portal Postcard.news was arrested for an incorrect FB post that got the facts wrong about an accident involving a Jain monk. Even though the post was later deleted, the Congress ecosystem in Karnataka hoisted more cases on Hegde and ensured he spent 17 days in jail before getting bail.
Why isn’t the same criteria applied to MSM outlets & journalists who are guilty of far worse when it comes to manufacturing fake news, and in fact brazen it out when their agenda is exposed?
How quickly the nexus is able to reach the Supreme Court for anti-Hindu activists. If he were pro-Hindu he’d languish in Jail for months or years.
Who is the “establishment” ruling India? https://t.co/vYeny5SYkP
— Sankrant Sanu सानु (@sankrant) June 11, 2019
6.) Abhijit Iyer-Mitra case
Defence analyst Abhijit Iyer-Mitra landed in trouble after making undoubtedly derogatory remarks against the Konark Sun temple which he claimed were ‘satirical’ in nature. At first, he managed to get bail from a lower court in Delhi, but later he approached SC for anticipatory bail after more charges were slapped on him by the Odisha Assembly.
When Iyer’s counsel said his life is in danger, the CJI Ranjan Gogoi-led bench said “If your life is in danger, then what better place to stay than jail? Your life will be secure….Your comments invite religious feelings. How are you entitled to bail?”
— Pratyasha Rath (@pratyasharath) June 11, 2019
Netizens also called out Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s hypocrisy for demanding Kanojia’s release, while his own party is at the forefront of crushing voices that are deemed offensive by the party’s high command. In particular, the Congress-JDS alliance Government in Karnataka has been cracking down with a venegance against journalists: 15 journalists have been arrested in the last 50 days, including a journalist arrested for speaking against atrocities of Tipu Sultan, or FIR against a senior journalist for reporting on the CM’s sons delinquent behavior.
Offered without comments pic.twitter.com/ydLYk3Yn4p
— Ankur Singh (@iAnkurSingh) June 11, 2019
And of course, the English-language media’s hypocrisy and bias in such selective application of free speech ideas is well known by now –
Pic 1: When journalist arrested in BJP ruled state.
Pic 2: When journalist arrested in Congress ruled state.
He's President of Hypocrite Editors Guild pic.twitter.com/nT2m6vAv9u
— Ankur Singh (@iAnkurSingh) June 11, 2019
Every society has values and norms, usually determined by its elite. Anyone who doesn’t act as per those norms is deemed an outcast or extremist. In today’s Bharat, pseudo-liberalism & Nehruvian secularism holds sway, and our elites are mentally colonized by foreign ideologies. In such a climate, it is no surprise that most organs of the state like judiciary, media etc. are steeped in anti-Hindu prejudice and double standards.
It is all very well to stand up for freedom of expression and individual liberty – but when blatant hypocrisy is evident in application of these principles, the ordinary citizen is not going to stay quiet any more.
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