The Karnataka Union of Working Journalists on Tuesday wrote to Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy condemning the FIR registered against editor-in-chief of Vishwavani for publishing an article about Nikhil Kumaraswamy, the CM’s son.
In a letter, the president of the association Shivanand Tagadooru wrote, “The police complaint filed against editor in chief of Vishwavani, Vishweshwar Bhat, is not right and condemnable. If there was any false news or factually incorrect information in the news article, demanding that it be corrected is the right procedure.”
The act of filing the police complaint, Shivanand suggested, had “undertones of hatred”. “By filing a police complaint against him and making news out of it seems to have undertones of hatred. In the past, whenever we have brought to your notice issues regarding various publications, you have responded promptly, you acted like a friend to the media,” the letter adds.
The Karnataka police registered an FIR against Vishweshwar Bhat for an article about Nikhil Kumaraswamy, which the JD(S) claims is defamatory. Vishweshwar Bhat has been accused of publishing ‘derogatory remarks’ against the Karnataka Chief Minister’s son on the front page of the paper on Saturday. A complaint was filed by Pradeep Kumar, an official of the JD(S) legal cell, at the Srirampura police station in Bengaluru on Sunday.
The article in question, titled ‘Nikhil Kumaraswamy Raatri Rampata’ (Nikhil Kumaraswamy’s night tantrum), said that Nikhil had caused a ruckus at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Mysuru on Thursday night, after he lost the Lok Sabha election in Mandya. According to the piece, an angry and drunk Nikhil allegedly threw a tantrum and yelled, “It is a humiliation that I have lost to a woman. Mandya’s people have not held my hand. My dream of being an MP did not come true.”
He also allegedly said, “You (Deve Gowda) got me tangled in the Mandya labyrinth. In spite of having eight MLAs, we were not able to win. Didn’t HD Revanna gain the support of Congress in Hassan? Why weren’t you able to gain the support of Congress rebels Cheluvarayaswamy and Narendra Swamy?”
The article further said, “In spite of friends and hotel officials trying to console him, he argued with them and caused a commotion.”
In its complaint, the JD(S) contended that the article not only defamed Nikhil Kumaraswamy and his grandfather HD Deve Gowda, but was also “fictitious” and that no such incident took place. The police registered an FIR under IPC sections 499, 500, 501 (defamation), 504 (intentional insult), 506 (criminal intimidation), 420 (cheating), 406 (criminal breach of trust), and 468 (forgery).