Mukesh Kumar, the resident editor of Sudarshan News, was on Friday arrested by the Gurugram Police for tweeting false information in connection with the communal violence in Haryana, PTI reported.
The violence erupted in Nuh on July 31 after a Hindu procession organised by the Bajrang Dal and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad was attacked by a Muslim mob. The violence left five people dead, including two home guards and a Bajrang Dal member, and quickly spread beyond Nuh. Hindu mobs went on a rampage in Gurugram in particular, torching a mosque in Sector 57 and killing its teenaged imam.
In a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, Kumar alleged on August 8 that Al Jazeera, the Qatar-funded media organisation, has been making calls to Gurugram Police Commissioner Kala Ramachandran and putting pressure on her to take action against Hindus over the violence.
“And after calls from the deputy commissioner, she is forced to pick up Hindu activists from anywhere,” he alleged while asking Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar to take note of his claims.
In a statement on Friday, the Gurugram Police said that Kumar’s tweet was baseless and misleading.
The police said a first information report has been filed against him under Section 66C of the Information Technology Act as well as Sections 153B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration), 469 (forgery for purpose of harming reputation), 501 (printing or engraving matter known to be defamatory) and 505 (1)(C) (statements with intent to incite) of the Indian Penal Code.
Sudarshan News initially alleged that Kumar was kidnapped by “well-built goons” from his car in Gurugram’s Sector 17. He had gone to Mewat to help “struggling” Hindu activists, the channel claimed.
Later, Sudarshan News said that it took the Gurugram Police seven hours to issue a press statement about the arrest.
“This arrest is totally illegal and wrong,” it said on X. “Sudarshan News stands by Mukesh Kumar ji and considers the arrest an attack on media freedom.”
Sudarshan News Editor-in-Chief Suresh Chavhanke threatened the Gurugram Police to release Kumar or else they would make a “big announcement” on Saturday. “Let us see which Hindu men are with us,” he wrote on X.
At around 11.40 pm, Chavhanke said that Kumar has been released. He alleged that “conspirators” had planned to keep Kumar in jail till August 15.