Bengaluru Mayor files police complaint over fake news on Ganesh festival

Ralph Alex Arakal
Bengaluru mayor Gangambike Mallikarjun submits her complaint latter to Bengaluru City Police Commissioner Alok Kumar. Express Photo

Bengaluru Police filed an FIR against a Facebook page administrator after city mayor Gangambike Mallikarjun alleged that it was being used to spread fake news against her. According to the complaint handed over to City Police Commissioner Alok Kumar on July 20, the mayor alleged that ‘Modi Bhakta’, a Kannada Facebook page, was running a "misinformation campaign" that she is against the setting up of Ganesh pandals on roads.

"The post on the Facebook page is part of a misinformation campaign run against me saying that I am against allowing people of the Hindu community in the city to celebrate Ganesh festival by setting up pandals on the road. Several people have shared the post as well, with some of them, including a user named Manikanta Bharadwaj, using abusive language while sharing the post," she said in the letter.

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The complaint also includes a couple of Facebook links of the posts. Mayor Gangambike added that the post "hurt her religious feelings" and has also led to "trolling and (her) husband facing baseless allegations".

Bharadwaj told Indianexpress.com that she has been an active participant in the Ganesh festival. "It hurts me more as, in fact, I had even extended the festival organised at the National College grounds from three to eleven days. I have never put forth any plan to stop these celebrations, as wrongly alleged in the post," she said.

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An FIR has been registered at Siddapura police station and the search is on for the page administrator who is also accused of using offensive language in the post.

"Charges will be levied on the offenders under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) including 153 (A) -Promoting enmity between different groups on ground of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony; 505 – Statements conducing public mischief, 507 – Criminal intimidation by anonymous communication and 509- Word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman," a police officer from Siddapura police station said.