Chennai: The Trichy police in Tamil Nadu registered a case against former director general of police (DGP) R. Nataraj Friday for allegedly spreading fake news about the ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and Chief Minister M.K. Stalin. The complaint was filed by the Trichy central district advocates’ wing of the DMK.
Nataraj had allegedly shared a fake news card, purportedly from a Tamil news channel, on a WhatsApp group. The post included an allegedly fake quote alongside a picture of Stalin, claiming, “If we have to win only with the votes of Hindus then we don’t need such a victory. The DMK has not stooped so low to get Hindu votes.” A screengrab of the post also went viral on social media.
According to a police statement, Nataraj, who was also an AIADMK legislator in 2016, has been charged sections 153 A (promoting enmity), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace), 505 (1)(b) (making, publishing or circulating any statement, rumour or report with intent to cause fear or alarm), 505 (1)(c) making, publishing or circulating any statement, rumour or report with intent to incite), 505(2) (statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes) of the IPC and also 66D of IT Act, 2008.
Earlier in the day, at an event of the government’s Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR&CE) Department in Chennai, Stalin said that opposition parties were trying to confuse people with fake news.
“On WhatsApp, a former top cop, I don’t want to name him here, has shared posts claiming that I said that we (DMK) don’t want Hindu votes and we (DMK) can win even without that. The former senior officer has used my name to falsely spread fake news,” he said.
He added, “In this manner, fake news is being spread in a planned fashion to defeat the Dravidian government in the state. In the upcoming election, to put a full stop to this kind of false propaganda, I am requesting that the people of the state vote wisely.”
Sources within the government said that the former top cop the CM had referred to was indeed Nataraj.
ThePrint reached the former DGP via calls and WhatsApp. The report will be updated if and when he responds.
Row over temple properties
At the same event, the CM said, “I won’t be concerned if people like Annamalai create these confusions. But to see a Union minister like Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman making (such) remarks has been shocking.”
He was referring to Sitharaman’s remarks this Monday at a Madurai event where she had expressed concern about alleged irregularities in the HR&CE department. She had said, “Temples properties are being stolen and we do not know who is getting the money.”
Clarifying the DMK government’s efforts, Stalin said, “Temple properties worth ₹5,500 crore have been recovered under the DMK regime. If they (BJP) really have devotion, they should be appreciating the DMK government. But they have no devotion, they are faking devotion to deceive the people.” In response to Sitharaman’s allegation, HR&CE department Minister P.K. Sekhar Babu said at a press conference Wednesday that the government and the department have been focussed on protecting temple idols, retrieving temple lands from encroachers, and consecrating temples.
“This government is not the one which aids in stealing temple assets. Whoever is the person who levels charges against the HR&CE department, we are ready to answer them in a transparent manner,” he said.
In a separate incident, a video of Stalin on his morning walk with Health Minister Ma Subramanian Friday also went viral. In the video, a man can be seen appreciating the CM and the HR&CE department for temple consecration ceremonies and retrieving encroached temple lands.
Source: The Print