Journalist Prashant Kanojia has been granted bail after two months of imprisonment by the Uttar Pradesh police on charges of allegedly inciting potential social disharmony through a tweet, his wife, Jagisha Arora, informed SheThePeople. Kanojia, a Bahujan journalist, was arrested on August 18 this year after he had shared, but then deleted, an image of Hindu Army leader Sushil Tiwari that later turned out to be morphed. His arrest was touted as an example of the authoritative crackdown on dissenting voices in the country and was actively opposed by Arora, backed by lawyers, academicians, thinkers, journalists and international human rights bodies.
प्रशांत को हाई कोर्ट से जमानत मिल गई है. मेरा न्यायपालिका और बाबा साहेब के संविधान पर विश्वास रंग लाया. मैं सभी लोगों का शुक्रिया अदा करना चाहती हूं जो मेरी लड़ाई में मेरे साथी बने. सबको शुक्रिया.@PJkanojia लव यू pic.twitter.com/pDAj9vVnQC
— Jagisha Arora (@jagishaarora) October 21, 2020
Arora told us exclusively, “The bail proceedings will take place tomorrow (October 21). I’m so extremely elated. My faith in the Constitution, in Dr Ambedkar, and in the judiciary has paid off. I’m very happy for Prashant, but a lot of our friends are still in prison. There are still a lot of political prisoners we have to keep up the fight for. I’m happy for my husband but the fight isn’t over yet.”
“My Family Didn’t Contact Me When Prashant Was Arrested”
In a previous interview, Arora had opened up about the strife with her family and society following her decision to marry Kanojia outside of her caste. “I am currently living alone at home. My husband is in jail, and it has been over two months now. My family didn’t contact me, they didn’t ask whether I’m fine or not when Prashant was arrested,” she said.
Arora belongs to an upper-caste, while Kanojia is a Bahujan, which was the cause of immense hostility at home. “When I was dating my current husband, I had uploaded a picture with him. My brother told me you have 15 minutes, either you delete that picture or leave the house. I resisted and left the house. After which I began receiving threat calls saying we’ll harm you. So, we had to go to the police station, where my entire family came, tried to talk to us.”
Arora eventually got married to Kanojia at an Arya Samaj temple in Lucknow. Expressing disappointment in her family’s dismissal of her husband, Arora said, “It’s Brahmanical patriarchy I would say. When a woman takes a decision, society, family, culture calls you out. It’s very difficult for a woman to take any decisions.”
Kanojia and Arora are both vocal advocates of annihilating the caste system in India. “Annihilation of caste is justice. If the Brahmanical caste system doesn’t end, patriarchy will never end. Every feminist must acknowledge the caste structure. We have to end this system which is stopping us from moving forward,” Arora says.
Arora’s Fight For Her Husband’s Release
Arora had been fighting for the release of her husband, and all political prisoners, since the day Kanojia was arrested. She has been leading the social media campaign #ReleasePrashantKanojia, with several noted voices standing in solidarity with her.
What The Opposition is Saying
Those opposing Kanojia were of the view that as a journalist, he should have verified the fake news before tweeting it out, regardless of the fact that he soon deleted it. “The thing with fake news is that if you want to wilfully spread it, you will not take it down. You will circulate it, you will not apologise for it,” Arora says. “Prashant deleted his tweet as and when he found out it was a morphed image. He wasn’t ‘spreading’ it. And when he deleted it, that means he realised his mistake, right?”
“People from marginalised communities or women always face tone shaming. They’re told not to talk about certain issues, be careful in the way they talk. Don’t talk about caste, don’t critique governmental policies. My husband always talks about these issues. It’s not just a tweet he has been arrested for. He is being politically targeted for questioning the government,” she says.
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