The Tirupati police in Andhra Pradesh have arrested three people, for allegedly posting a misleading photo of a 'cross' and spreading misinformation that church-like structures were coming up in the Hindu temple town of Tirumala.
Police said that the 'cross' was just a pole on top of a forest watchtower. They added that the photo was taken from a distance, and at an angle, which could easily mislead viewers.
The photo was posted on social media with the caption 'Yedukondalapai Velusthunna Yesuprabhu Mandiraalu', which translates to 'Churches coming up on the seven hills'.
As the image was widely shared on social media, the vigilance wing of the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) had filed a police complaint on August 30.
Police said that they swung into action and visited the spot, even as they began tracing the IP address of the people who first made the post, and managed to track down the three accused. They have been identified as Arun Kumar, Karthik and Chakravarthi.
Speaking to reporters on Friday, Tirupati Urban Superintendent of Police KKN Anbu Rajan said, ‚ÄúTaking the issue seriously, the DGP directed us to investigate the incident thoroughly and apprehend the culprits. Without verifying the facts, a few people have spread the news on Facebook and other social media platforms. The building houses a forest watchtower, and the iron pole erected for fixing CCTV camera was wrongly projected.‚ÄĚ
A case has been registered under Section 500 (Defamation) and 505 (2) (Statements conducing public mischief) of the IPC.
The SP also warned others that the police would act strictly against those spreading misinformation in any form, and advised youth against indulging in such activities.
The TTD has been witnessing several controversies, ever since Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy took charge in May.
Last month, an advertisement of Jerusalem yatra and Haj pilgrimage on bus tickets in the temple town of Tirupati had sparked a row, compelling the state government to order a probe.