BJP tweets fake letter of ‘plot by K’taka minister to divide Hindus’: MB Patil goes to cops

The forged letter was also published by Kannada paper Vijayvani – which was started by a former BJP MP – on its front page.
BJP tweets fake letter of ‘plot by K’taka minister to divide Hindus’: MB Patil goes to cops
BJP tweets fake letter of ‘plot by K’taka minister to divide Hindus’: MB Patil goes to cops
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The BJP in Karnataka on Tuesday alleged that Home Minister MB Patil and former All India Congress Committee chief Sonia Gandhi had “conspired to break the Lingayat community in 2017”. To prove its claim, the party tweeted a letter purportedly written by MB Patil to Sonia Gandhi, which says the only way to increase Congress tally is by dividing Hindus and subsequently uniting Christians and Muslims. Not only is the letter fake, it has been busted as fake several times before, but the BJP seems to have no qualms in spreading it further.

Strangely, the letter which carries the signature of MB Patil, on the letterhead of the Bijapur Lingayat District Educational Association (BLDEA) of which he is President, was also published on Kannada daily Vijayavani on Tuesday. The BJP Karnataka handle and several BJP IT Cell Twitter handles had also attached a screenshot of the article from Vijayavani’s Hubbali edition’s page one, about the letter.

“MB Patil sparks fire again”, “Congress in a pickle ahead of Lok Sabha polls regarding the Lingayat issue?” and “Did MB Patil write a letter to Sonia Gandhi?” were the various headlines used in the package of stories accompanied with a picture of an angry MB Patil.

Although the headlines were blatantly misleading, the story did mention that the letter was fake and that the same letter was being circulated on social media since 2018.

According to fact checking website BOOMLive, when they pointed out that the organisations mentioned in the fake letter did not even exist, Channegowda KN, editor, Vijayavani  said, “It is not our duty to check whether such organisations exist or not.”

Vijayavani was launched by Vijay Sankeshwar in 2012. Sankeshwar was previously a BJP MP from Dharwad (North) constituency.

Despite fact checks in the past and presently, BJP and its leaders have continued to post the fake letter. On Tuesday, the BJP in Karnataka tweeted the letter saying, “Congress exposed. The entire Lingayat and Veerashaiva community division was planted under direct instruction of Sonia Gandhi. The letter written to Sonia Gandhi by Congress leader MB Patil exposes shocking details of how Sonia Gandhi wanted to divide Hindu communities in Karnataka.”

Why is the letter fake?

The letter had been doing the rounds on WhatsApp in 2018, ahead of the Karnataka Assembly Elections, when the issue of a separate Lingayat religion was at its peak. It was first published by fake news website PostCardNews.

The 'letter' talks about a meeting that a few ministers held with representatives of the “Global Christian Council” and “World Islamic Organisation” regarding the strategy to be adopted for the Karnataka Assembly Elections.

The letter says, "This (seats for the Congress) can be achieved by uniting the Muslims and Christians on the basis of their faith: divide the Hindus on the basis of caste/sub-caste and sect and sub/sect. To achieve this objective it was decided that we use the difference prevailing in the Veerashaiva-Lingayat community and announce sops for Muslims and Christians in our budget and later in the election manifesto.”

The only problem is that “Global Christian Council” and “World Islamic Organisation” do not exist. When this was exposed by fact checkers BoomLive and AltNews in 2018, PostCardNews coolly deleted their story and tweets.

MB Patil files police complaint

Speaking to TNM, MB Patil said that the letter is fake and that miscreants had scanned a copy of a letter he had written as the President of Bijapur Lingayat District Educational Association (BLDEA) and changed the contents of the letter.

MB Patil on Tuesday submitted an original copy of BLDE's letter head (right) to the police

“I have said this before and I say it again, the letter published by Vijayavani and BJP is fake. I will now initiate legal action for forgery against those who manufactured it and published it. I will pursue the matter till it reaches a legal conclusion and even go to the Supreme Court if I have to and fight those who are involved in this,” MB Patil added.

MB Patil on Tuesday filed a complaint with the Adarshnagar Police in Vijayapura regarding the incident. Patil had in 2018 stated that he had asked the authorities to look into the fake letter issue. However, a complaint was never filed. 

MB Patil on Tuesday submitted an original copy of BLDE's letter head to the police, stating the contents of the letter, the symbol on the letter head and his signature were forged. 

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