A 25-year-old MBA student and Aam Aadmi Party activist from the coastal Karnataka town of Bhatkal has been arrested for allegedly circulating an MMS ridiculing Prime Minister-elect Narendra Modi.
Waqas Barmawar, son of noted Bhatkal-based Nawaithi and Urdu poet Samiullah Barmawar, was held along with four of his friends from an apartment in Bangalore by the city police’s central crime branch on Saturday evening.
The other four were released on Sunday afternoon after questioning but Waqas continues to be in police custody. Police sources said he was taken to Khanapur in Belgaum for questioning.
Read: 'Govt won't interfere in anti-Modi FB comments case'
The MMS that got Waqas into trouble shows a corpse morphed with Modi’s face. Spoofing the BJP election slogan “Abki Bar Modi Sarkar”, the image runs with the headline “Abki Baar antim sanskaar”.
The image was allegedly doing the rounds on a few WhatsApp groups administered by AAP activists. According to sources, it was accidentally forwarded to a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) supporter in Belgaum and he complained to the police.
Although senior police officers confirmed details of the arrest, none was willing to be named.
The arrest triggered outrage among AAP activists in Bhatkal, which is in Uttara Kannada district, even as they insisted the image was a political satire.
Raghavendra Thane, who contested the general elections from Uttara Kannada on an AAP ticket, said, “We will hold statewide protests. The BJP targeted us selectively during campaigning. In Bhatkal, they consistently picked on Muslims members of our party.”
Waqas is presently pursuing his MBA from a college in Bhatkal and is a summer intern at a firm in Bangalore.
Read: Modi-baiter in Goa faces arrest for Facebook comment