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Bengaluru: Lawyer Threatened With Legal Action for Sharing Photo of UP Govt Hoarding

A top UP official claimed that the government had not placed any advertisements in Karnataka, but evidence showed otherwise.

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New Delhi: The simple act of tweeting a photo of an Uttar Pradesh government’s advertisement hoarding near Bengaluru’s airport landed a lawyer based in the city in the crosshairs of the Yogi Adityanath administration, with the government’s cyber police threatening to take legal action against him.

In the photograph that Shishira Rudrappa took on Monday morning, the hoarding reads “Uttar Pradesh number one in the country” and “Government jobs for 4 lakh youth” in Hindi, with images of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath. Rudrappa captioned the tweet, “UP election campaign has begun in Karnataka.” He shared another picture of the same hoarding near Delhi airport.

Speaking to the News Minute, the lawyer said he spotted the hoarding just outside Bengaluru airport.

On Monday evening, the Uttar Pradesh government’s director of information and public relations quote tweeted the image, claiming it was “fake news”. Shishir Singh said there was no such advertisement anywhere in Karnataka, tagging the Twitter handles of the Uttar Pradesh director general of police and the cyber cell.

“Be responsible. Don’t spread fake news please. No such advertisement given anywhere in the State of Karnataka. @dgpup @cyberpolice_up,” Shishir Singh tweeted.

The Uttar Pradesh cyber police responded, saying, “Noted please.- Appropriate legal action will be taken against this twitter handle.”

The official fact checking account of the Uttar Pradesh government also claimed that the claim made in the tweet is false.

Rudrappa challenged Singh’s claim that his tweet was ‘fake news’. He responded to the IAS officer’s tweet with two tweets, saying he just shared a photo of the UP government’s advertisement.

He also shared a video which showed a Bengaluru airport truck parked near the hoarding, confirming that the hoarding was indeed in Karnataka. He asked Singh to delete his tweet.

While Singh’s tweet is still up, the hoarding itself was taken down. On Tuesday morning, Rudrappa shared another video, saying the hoarding has been removed.

“It was just a harmless tweet, I saw the hoarding and shared a picture. The government of Uttar Pradesh has accepted that this hoarding was put up in Delhi, and similar ones have been seen in Maharashtra. I am guessing the Bengaluru one was put up by mistake and so maybe it was taken down,” the lawyer told the News Minute.

That the lawyer was threatened with legal action simply for sharing an image of the UP government’s hoarding was severely criticised by many on Twitter. Journalist Abhishek Baxi said that the ‘UP model’ is built on ‘lies and intimidation’.