The founder of fake news website, Postcard, has been arrested by Karnataka Police for spreading lies demonising Muslims in the state.
Mahesh Vikram, who is also followed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Twitter, had posted a fake news about a Jain monk being attacked by Muslim youth in Bangalore. The truth was that the said monk had got hurt in a road accident in Kanakpura.
In his tweet, designed to incite communal violence and demonise Muslims, Hegde had also posted images of the injured monk with his tweet saying, “No one is safe in Siddaramiah’s Karnataka.” His fake news was fervently shared by the right-wing brigade thousands of times.
Quoting officials, News18 reported that Hegde had been booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code that deal with promoting enmity between religious groups and outraging sentiments. He will be produced before a magistrate shortly.
Hegde has been found spreading fake news to incite communal violence on multiple occasions. In December, the website had falsely reported that one 18-year old Paresh Kamalakar Mesta was tortured, his body mutilated and heads splits into two because he was a member of Sangh Parivar. However, the victim’s father had made it clear that his son had no association with the Sangh Parivar giving credence to suspicion that the BJP may have attempted to communalise his murder to extract electoral gains in the poll-bound state.
Another fake news by the same website had become a bone of contention between Karnataka and Rajasthan in August last year, when it falsely likened the Karnataka government to that of Taliban rule. It had further added that Hindus needed to deposit Rs 10 Lakhs to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi. This claim was immediately rejected by the state government.
Several BJP leaders have been quick to throw their weight behind Hegde. They included Ananthkumar Hegde and Pratap Simha among others.
Karnataka goes to polls on 12 May with the counting scheduled for 15 May.