The Madhya Pradesh Police on Sunday registered a case against state Congress Working President and MLA Jitu Patwari for allegedly posting a doctored image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and making undignified remarks against him, PTI reported. The first information report was lodged on a complaint by Indore MP Shankar Lalwani and several other leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
In a now deleted tweet, Patwari had allegedly posted a tampered photo of the prime minister wearing a mask and holding a bowl during the foundation-laying ceremony of a Ram temple in Ayodhya on August 5.
Accompanying the image was a tweet in Hindi, in which the Congress leader accused Modi of neglecting the crumbling state of India’s economy. “The country’s economy, business and income, declining economic status of farmers, jobs and unemployment, decline of economy, labourers and their struggle...These are not subjects of television debate,” he had written. “Because, [we] will walk with the bowl.”
The Chhatripura police station in Indore said Patwari was booked under sections 188 and 464 of the Indian Penal Code, pertaining to disobedience to order promulgated by a public servant, and making a false document, respectively.
“Police are investigating the matter,” Indore Deputy Inspector General of Police Harinarayanchari Mishra said, according to the Hindustan Times. “Any further action will be based on the facts which come to light during investigation.”
Lalwani said the Congress leader had hurt the sentiments of people. “On his Twitter account, the Congress MLA posted a photo of the prime minister snapped when he was performing bhoomi poojan for construction of Ram Temple at Ayodhya on August 5,” he told the newspaper. “Jitu Patwari tampered with the photo and made undignified remarks against the PM which caused damage to his dignity and hurt sentiments of people.”
However, Patwari rejected the allegations and said his remarks were neither defamatory nor undignified in any sense. “Narendra Modi is the prime minister of the country and not just of the BJP,” Patwari told reporters on Sunday. “Therefore, every citizen, including me, has the right to question him.”
“As for the photograph, it had gone viral on social media and I merely forwarded it,” the Congress leader added. “So the police should investigate the person who tampered the image. But the BJP only saw the photo I tweeted, why didn’t they see what I wrote along with it? Why are they ignoring the issue of unemployment?”