The unabashedly right-wing website Postcard News co-founder Mahesh Vikram Hegde was recently accosted by three women – Kavitha Reddy, Amulya Leona, and Najma Nazeer – at Mangaluru Airport and asked to sing the national song Vande Mataram.

In contrast to the usual hate-spewing narrative that Hegde adopts, the women went up to him and asked him to sing the national song rather politely. The video of the women’s strategy of counterspeech – “any direct response to hateful or harmful speech which seeks to undermine it” – was widely circulated on social media.

Hegde, however, refused to oblige. The women even offered to join him in singing the song. “We are giving you a great opportunity,” they told him. “We are making a hero out of a zero. We anti-nationals will join you.”

Hegde has been proven to have indulged in hate speech and in spreading misinformation in the past. He was arrested in March 2018 for allegedly spreading false information about a Jain monk who had been injured in an accident.