The arrest of three journalists for sharing alleged “objectionable" content about Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath shows the high-handedness of the state’s police. At the centre of the controversy is a video in which a woman is seen making personal claims about herself and the CM. The video was shared online by a journalist, outraging UP cops so much that they arrested him from his Delhi home. The head and editor of a news channel were also arrested for showing the video.

Regardless of the veracity of the woman’s claims, arrests merely for sharing or reporting them cannot be justified. It’s an example of the overreach of the protectors of law who, unfortunately, rarely show similar zeal in fighting for the interests of ordinary people. They seem to be aimed at intimidating and muzzling voices that fall foul of the ruling dispensation. Alarmingly, the UP police’s charges against the Delhi journalist included a section of the IT Act that had been ruled “unconstitutional" by the Supreme Court in 2015. Let’s hope the courts take notice and question the police so that such misuse of laws to silence free speech is rebuffed in the strongest possible manner.

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