In a video allegedly posted by Harish which has been shared across social media channels, he can be seen asking for forgiveness.

Ktaka man arrested in Saudi for posting blasphemous messages MEA seeks clarity
news Controversy Monday, December 23, 2019 - 16:37

The Indian Embassy in Saudi Arabia is trying to help one Karnataka man who is believed to have been arrested by Saudi authorities on Sunday for allegedly posting provocative messages on Facebook. 

READ: Wife of K’taka man arrested in Saudi says fake FB account posted blasphemous messages

The man has been identified as one Harish Bangera from Kundapur in coastal Karnataka. He was working for a Dammam based Saudi company and was employed as an airconditioner mechanic. 

A Facebook profile in his name has posted suggesting that another Ram Mandir be built at Mecca which is the revered holy site by a majority of Muslims across the world. The Facebook account has been deleted since Monday morning. In another message, the profile had also abused members of the Saudi royal family.

However, many have pointed out on Facebook that this particular Facebook account that posted the allegedly blasphemous messages was functional only from December 20. Meanwhile, Harish had another Facebook profile which he seems to have been using for years and has regularly posted about his family, friends and football. Some have suggested that the second account could have been created to put him in trouble. However, there is a video doing the rounds where Harish can be heard apologising to his Muslim brothers.

According to the Karnataka government, the Ministry of External Affairs have been alerted.

Sources have further told TNM that Asim Anwar, the Second Secretary (Political & Information) at the Indian Embassy in Riyadh have been apprised of the situation. He is taking up the matter with Desh Bandhu Bhati, Counsellor (Community Welfare) who in turn will inform Ausaf Sayeed, the Ambassador leading the Indian Embassy in the Arab nation.

“Embassy is cognizant of the matter and would do all possible to help Mr. Harish. Rest assured,” Bhatti told in a statement.

Meanwhile, it is not yet fully clear if Harish has been arrested.

"We have asked the Foreign Office here in Riyadh to confirm whether Harish Bangera has been arrested. We have not received any communication from them yet. We are trying to get in touch with his family or relatives in India. We will inform the family of the situation when we know more," an Indian Embassy official in Saudi Arabia said.

In a video posted by Harish which has been shared across social media channels, he can be seen folding in hands and seeking forgiveness from “Muslim” friends.

He is heard saying, “I have done a mistake. Please forgive me. I will never upload such post again. I ask my Muslim brothers to please forgive me on this occasion. I am facing problem from my company.” But this could not help him prevent an arrest.

In another post that has gone viral on Facebook since then, reportedly Harish has been fired by his employers for this alleged post.The message reads. “We Gulf Carton Factory Co. want to have your attention for what happened, in relation to unethical posts, posted by Mr. Harish Bangera from his personal Facebook account. It was unacceptable and we have immediately terminated Mr. Harish Bagera form his duties and company contract. We condemn such activities extremely and have reported this case to Police, Ministry of Labour & Saudi authorities for their further action. We assure everyone that we have zero tolerance for such acts."

(With inputs from Theja Ram)

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