Co-founder of Postcard News Mahesh Hegde arrested by CCB

Updated - March 30, 2018 08:17 am IST

Published - March 30, 2018 07:25 am IST

Co-founder of online portal ‘Postcard News’, Mahesh Vikram Hegde, was arrested by the CCB police on Thursday on charges of spreading fake and communally sensitive news.

Captioning a photo of Jain monk Upadhyaya Mayank Sagar Ji Maharaj, who was recently injured in a road accident, Mr. Hegde had tweeted on March 19: “Very sad news, yesterday in Karnataka Jain muni attacked by Muslim youth. No one is safe in Siddaramaiah’s Karnataka.” The same was tweeted on the Postcard News handle as well. This saw hundreds of re-tweets.

An Alt News expose had found that the photo was taken from the website of online Jain news portal, Ahimsa Kranti. The photograph that Hegde had tweeted can be found on the Ahimsa Kranti website, with a caption stating that he had been injured in an accident.

According to the police, on March 11, the monk was walking from Nanjangud to Kanakagiri, when nearing Kavalande village, a motorist rammed into the monk and others with him. The monk suffered injuries on his right arm and forehead.

The portal has faced several charges of publishing material inciting communal sentiments. The police have also taken cognisance of an FIR registered against Postcard News in Sanjaynagar police station limits in December 2017. The portal had published a derogatory article on Kittur Rani Chennamma and Onake Obavva. The article saw much outrage.

Soon after Mr. Hegde’s arrest, Pratap Simha, BJP MP, launched an attack on the ruling Congress, calling it a “cowardly act”. By late evening “#ReleaseMaheshHegde” was trending on many groups that support the BJP. There was also a counter thread trending, “#KeepMaheshLocked.”

Mr. Hegde’s twitter handle is also followed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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