Police on Friday detained a man, who works in the social media wing of YSR Congress party, for allegedly posting objectionable content against TDP general secretary and IT minister Nara Lokesh, son of Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu, on various platforms.
A police team from Tulluru in Amaravati swooped down on the residence of Ravi Kiran Inturi at Shamshabad on the city outskirts at around 3.30 am and whisked him away.
“They woke up my husband and asked him to accompany them. When I questioned who they were, one of them identified himself as a cop from Tulluru and said they were taking my husband to question him on the comments he had posted on the Facebook on the TDP leaders. They have not told me where they were taking my husband,” Inturi’s wife Sujana told reporters.
Tulluru police refused to confirm the arrest. “It has not come to our notice yet. However, a case has been registered against him under section 67 of the IT Act (punishment for publishing or obscene material in electronic form). We are investigating the case,” a senior police official told Hindustan Times.
This is the first time in Telugu states that police has taken action against a netizen for attacking political leaders on social media.
Inturi, who works in the social media wing of the YSR Congress party office in Hyderabad, runs a Facebook page named Political Punch, and has been posting satirical comments against Naidu and Lokesh, besides other TDP leaders.
Most of his posts are personally directed at Lokesh, whom he refers to as “Pappu”. He also morphs comical characters with the pictures of Lokesh to poke fun at the TDP leader.
The Facebook post that is believed to have led to Inturi’s detention shows Lokesh asking his father to send him to “Peddala Sabha” (Upper House), with a banner of a couple kissing placed in front of the new legislative council building in Amaravati, signifying that it is for “adults only”.
The 34-year-old TDP general secretary was elected to the state legislative council last month and was inducted into the cabinet for the first time, and given the portfolio of Panchayati Raj and Rural Development.
Sources in TDP said Lokesh has been angry with the posts. At a recent meeting with party functionaries, he had hinted at legal action against those who were deliberately indulging in personal criticism and tarnishing his image in public.
After he took over as the minister in the Chandrababu Naidu cabinet, he has become a subject of mockery in social media platforms for his faux pas in public.
Lokesh’s struggle to read certain words while taking oath as a minister, his extending “vardhanti (death anniversary) greetings” to the people on the occasion of B R Ambedkar‘s 126th birth anniversary, and his promise to ensure water scarcity, instead of saying he would mitigate water scarcity, in Anantapur have gone viral on social media.