On the fake account, he threatened family members of a BJP MLC, D S Arun. Arun is the son of a former chairman of legislative council D H Shankarmurthy.
NEW DELHI – How low Hindutva hate mongers can stoop to meet their target of dividing the society on communal lines? Picture this: A Hindu youth created a fake account on Facebook in the name of a Muslim with the sole purpose of posting hateful messages against his own community, and thereby malign Muslims.
Fortunately, the culprit has been caught in his act, and arrested from Karnataka’s Bagalkot.
The accused, 31-year-old Siddharoodha Srikant Nirale, created fake online identity in the name of Mushtaq Ali complete with a profile picture of a Muslim man wearing skull-cap. On this fake account he threatened family members of a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLC, D S Arun. Arun is the son of a former chairman of legislative council D H Shankarmurthy.
Nirale, a farmer from Shindi Kurbet in Belagavi district, has posted communally sensitive messages against Bajrang Dal member Harsha, who was killed by unknown persons in Shivamogga.
“You may think that a Hindu activist is dead today. But in the coming days, we will target your wife and children,” wrote Nirale with his fake Muslim identity on Arun’s social media handle.
He posted a number of such comments after the murder of Harsha.
It is to be noted here that Shivamogga witnessed riots after Hindutva groups resorted to violence pelting stones and setting Muslim properties on fire blaming the minority community for his killing. Such comments are deliberately made to add fuel to fire.
Apart from this, he also made communally sensitive comments in response to the news reports and statements of political leaders in Kannada.
Nirale was caught after the cyber, economics and narcotics police wing in Shivamogga registered a case with Bagalkot Police on a complaint of MLC Arun. The investigators tracked him and exposed his real identity through digital footprint.
Lokesh Jagalasar, Superintendent of Police, Bagalkot, pointed to the doubtful nature of social media opinions citing Nirale’s case.
“This case proves that whatever we read or see on social media may not be true. We appeal to the common people not to rely on social media posts blindly. They need to confirm and reconfirm all the claims made in social media posts before forming their opinions on any issue,’’ Jagalasar was quoted by The Hindu as saying.
Meanwhile, N. Satish Kumar, IGP, Western range, lauded the Bagalkot Police’s work in the case.
“It is a very good effort to solve the case, and I would like to congratulate the Bagalkot police. They used technology tools and solid groundwork to confirm that Siddharoodha was the person who created the fake profile,” said Kumar.
The accused has been remanded to judicial custody and will be brought to Shivamogga for further investigation.
Commenting on the issue, Muhammed Zubair, a fact-checking journalist, said that there are many fake accounts on social media which post hateful messages.
“Beware! There are thousands of Fake ‘Mushtaq Alis’ on Twitter who regularly post hateful content on twitter and their screenshots will then be shared on other platforms,” said Zubair.