Scenes from Bengaluru on the night of the riots
Scenes from Bengaluru on the night of the riots
ANI Photo

India Today on Saturday received a lot of flak for an article that they claimed was a profile of P Naveen Kumar, the nephew of Congress MLA Akhanda Srinivas Murthy, whose alleged social media post that ‘insulted Prophet Mohammed’ resulted in riots in the IT city.

However, there have been several theories doing the rounds that Naveen, who has been subsequently arrested for the alleged post, only responded to a post put by someone who insulted an Indian God. That post, according to Alt News, was shared in 2018, and Naveen who has shared posts on communal harmony in the past, responded to that particular post, which was deleted, according to community guidelines, but was still circulating, thanks to the ease of creating a screenshot.

The India Today article, however, has proceeded to go ahead and declare Naveen guilty, even though he hasn’t gone through a legal trial as yet. The article, which has said that it did a ‘thorough check’ of his Facebook timeline, revealed that Naveen was a fan of ‘Sunny Leone’s Charity work.’

India Today's Rahul Kanwal tweeted, "A recently married self proclaimed fan of Sunny Leone’s charity work and a wannabe neta, who is P Naveen Kumar, who’s posts sparked the Bengaluru riots. Our OSINT desk ran some digital forensics on his deleted SM handles to draw up this character profile."

This is when people on Twitter slammed the news channel for what they have termed ‘third-rate’ journalism.

Earlier, BJP I-T cell Chief Amit Malviya on Friday slammed the Congress for not condemning the violence in Bengaluru following a social media post that insulted Prophet Mohammed.

“Not a word of condemnation from the Congress on the rioting that took place in Bengaluru, in which their own Dalit MLAs house was gutted down, nor a word against Shahzeb Rizvi announcing a bounty of 51 lakh on Karnataka Congress MLA’s nephew’s head. Just because they are Dalits?” Malviya tweeted.

Srinivasamurthy’s house was set on fire by a mob on Tuesday night, after his nephew Naveen had shared the post. Srinivasmirthy had won on a reserved seat.

The MLA admitted to have had a narrow escape and even sought police custody. “They barged into the house late Tuesday evening, looted jewellery, money and saris, burnt the furnishing and eventually the entire house. They targeted the houses of two of my brothers too. I was fortunate to have escaped as I was on my way back home when police alerted me."

The city police Thursday filed as many as 12 FIRs against 17 main accused in the mob violence on Tuesday night that saw three people dead in police firing and over 150, including many policemen, injured in eastern parts of Bengaluru.

Though the FIR has not cited any organisation for the violence, prominent leaders of Secular Democratic Party of India (SDPI), a fringe Muslim organisation, have been named. Five people, including SDPI’s Bengaluru district president Muzamil Pasha, have been arrested even as there was a growing chorus to ban the organisation.

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Free Press Journal