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5 held for peddling corrosion as temple attack in Andhra
Ongole (Andhra Pradesh), Jan 19 - The police in Andhra Pradesh's Ongole district on Monday arrested five persons from different parts of the state for falsely propagating corrosion damage as temple attack on various social media platforms.
The police arrested Thotakura Anil Kumar from Ongole, Mandadapu Srinivasa Rao from Sattenapalli, Guntur, Chenchennagari Naresh Kumar Reddy from Vennapusapalli, Ananthapur, Budda Devendra Kumar from Akkayapalem Urban, Visakhapatnam, and Bodicherla Nagamallikarjun from Kadapa.
Prakasam police officials fanned out to all these far off places personally and arrested them for spreading falsehoods on Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, YouTube and other social media platforms.
"Those who think they can hide behind a computer and spread communal hatred on social media without any consequences must think again. We will track them down and bring them to justice," Superintendent of Police Siddharth Kaushal told IANS.
The five persons have been arrested under various sections of the Indian Penal Code.
On January 5, Prakasam district's additional superintendent of police (ASP, Admin) B. Ravichandra had warned rumour mongers not to spread falsehoods about a local temple as some miscreants started peddling corrosion as an attack on a local temple in the district.
He warned of stern action against rumours that two idols were dismembered at Singarayakonda's Lakshmi Narasimhaswamy arch and explained that they broke off due to corrosion.
The temple's executive official Sri Bhairagi had also confirmed that corrosion caused parts of the idols to break off.
Bhairagi said the arch is being repaired every year with the help of donors, but last year the arch could not be repaired as the Brahmotsavalu was not held due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
"Additional SP B. Ravichandra immediately informed the media about the incident on the same day. Yet some have spread lies on television and social media to hurt public sentiments with conspiracy and malice," a district police official said.
In addition to these arrests, the police identified 33 more people for false propaganda on social media. Out of the 33, 24 circulated fake temple news on Facebook, five on Twitter and four on YouTube. Among these 33, five have now been arrested.
"The rest of the accused would be identified using technology and legal action would be taken against them," said Kaushal.
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