India editor held over publishing ‘fake’ monk-muslim attack story


International desk, Mar 31: The editor of an Indian website has been held, accused of publishing a false story about Muslims attacking a monk from the Jain faith, police say.The report in Mahesh Hegde’s Postcard News, a controversial right-wing site, showed the monk with head and shoulder injuries, reports BBC.

But police in southern Bangalore city said he was injured in a road accident.

India has no law against “fake news” but publishing content that could incite religious hatred is an offence.

Mr Hegde published the story on 18 March but deleted it a few days later after people started pointing out the inaccuracy.

He hasn’t made a statement about his decision to publish and then delete the story.

He was arrested on Thursday after the ruling Congress party in the southern state of Karnataka filed a complaint.

“When the monk was getting treatment after the accident, one of his disciples took a picture. He [Mr Hegde] used the picture to say that the monk was attacked by Muslims. He published the news on his website as well and that is why he has been arrested,” senior police office Satish Kumar told BBC Hindi’s Imran Qureshi.

The Congress has also accused Mr Hegde of publishing content that favours the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party.

The two parties are campaigning to win the upcoming assembly elections in the state.