No Lutyen’s lobby cried about Freedom of Expression or Freedom of Speech when I was arrested without a warrant or an FIR or any proof. Their target was to shut down my portal PostCard News which had rendered many sleepless nights in the Congress ecosystem
It was March 29, 2018. I still remember the night when I just returned to my room and was planning a mega campaign for the upcoming Karnataka assembly elections. It was around 7.30 PM when the door knocked. When I opened it, there were a bunch of people standing in front of me. Without speaking a word or giving an explanation, they walked into my room and said they wanted to arrest me.
For a few moments, I was dumbstruck and had no idea what was happening. I started wondering what exactly did I do that these people wanted to arrest me. At that point, I did not even know who were the people standing at the door. Before I could react, they seized my phones, my laptop and declared they were police from CCB and arrested me. I was still not able to realise what was happening. Without having shown any warrant, without explaining, without letting me speak to my friend or family, they arrested and took me to the CCB office. I had no
communication with anyone; none of my friends knew I was arrested nor did I know for what reason I was arrested.
It was only the next day afternoon that the police allowed me to inform my friend of my arrest. It was then that I came to know that I was arrested for a tweet that I posted by mistake. My lawyer and friends thought it was a petty case and I would be released soon, which I too believed. But what I failed to realise was it was not a random petty case, but a trap which was planned for several months to crush my PostCard News and me which had shaken the anti-national ecosystem since two years.
A news portal which was started with just five people with a sole intention of reaching out to common people and exposing dark faces of anti-nationals and crooked ecosystem was exactly what had disturbed them. It was then that I realised the impact PostCard had made on the minds of people. Postcard News was built not by Lutyen’s journalists or Lutyen’s lobby, but by common people who joined hands to work for the country. The portal’s ranking which started from 180 at its inception reached 500 within 4 months. The only reason it gained immense popularity was because of its honest approach towards revealing the truth, the blunt way of attacking the corrupt, anti-nationals and the Lutyen’s lobby.
The team worked with full commitment, dedication and nationalist approach, which attracted millions of people and got appreciation from every corner of the country. As they say, the guilty recognise the threats very soon. The Congress government in Karnataka realised that Post Card was turning out to be their biggest threat. They along with their pampered Lutyen’s lobby made an orchestrated attack on every step of Post Card, and every top Congress leaders from Shashi Tharoor to Digvijay Singh consistently attacked Post Card News. The Kings and queens of the Khan Market Ravish Kumar, Barkha Dutt and their pet Alt News joined in attacking and spreading a malicious campaign against Post Card News. They made a countless number of articles against us; they held debates and sessions against
us. But when we did not budge or fall in their line, it was then they decided to attack us legally and misuse the constitutional posts for their benefits.
Post Card relentlessly spoke for the 24 RSS and BJP people who were murdered in Karnataka. We demanded answers from Congress Government which had made them jittery. The one article which shook the Congress Government in Karnataka was the death mystery of a Dalit RSS karyakarta Paresh Mesta. The boy who was found dead inexplicable condition was declared ‘natural death’ by the Karnataka Government. But what surprised everyone was how could the government declare the death natural even before the postmortem was out? Or would you see a naturally dead person’s eyes removed, organs burnt, or genitals cut? This was the exact questions Post Card News raised against the government which irked them.
The Congress which was waiting to trap PostCard used my mistakenly posted tweet as an opportunity to attack me and my portal. They arrested me just days after the Karnataka elections were announced and treated me like a criminal.
For a tweet which I posted by mistake and later apologised and deleted, could anyone imagine the level of hype the media created against me and PostCard? But when the court granted me bail for the tweet, the Congress got together to put more cases on me so that I would remain in jail until the elections are over and finally they could get the Post Card News shut down. They secretly took me to Kerala, from where our server was hosted and forced me to close Post Card.
The main intention here was not to punish me for the tweet but to punish me for starting Post Card. Cases upon cases were put on me, claiming I was responsible for disrupting communal harmony, creating violence and causing disorder in society. But what they failed to prove was, where did the violence take place because of me or whose communal harmony did I disrupt or which social order did I destroy?!
They wanted me to mentally suffer for which they framed me in different cases in different places starting from Bangalore to Karwar-Haliyal to Hubli. I was taken as a criminal in a fully protected car, was not allowed to speak to media nor give statements to anyone. It was nothing less than a kidnap where they kept my head down whenever they saw media and told me never to speak a word.
Seventeen days of torture, mental harassment, humiliation and constant threatening are what I saw. But that was not the end. When I walked out of jail, another shock was waiting as they made sure all our financial resources were drained. They took away our Facebook pages, our ads, our handles and channels which left us high and dry. They called us fake; they maligned us with fake stories and articles to stop all our income. But when I looked back and wondered why did they target us so much, the answer I got was because the Postcard News had a reach of 9 crore people with 23 crore impressions and over 5 lakh people directly subscribed. This was the data which made them play such a big game with my PostCard and me. That day a sense of satisfaction, a sense of pride and a sense of fighting spirit uplifted me and triggered me to work even harder for the nation and country.
If small news which was started with no Lutyens backing, no money, or political support could foster such a huge impact, then I felt it was my responsibility to work even harder for the cause of Dharma and in the interest of my country.
Even after a year, the harassment has not stopped as the Congress Government got me arrested for the second time on April 23, 2019 just a day after Karnataka voted for 2019 LS elections for an article I had published a year ago on Lingayat division issue. Again my phones, my car were seized; I was treated like a criminal and taken away by CID this time. For 15 days I was in isolation, running up and down to get bail. But the shocking part everyone should know is, in my case, there was no FIR, no proof, no warrant shown. All they wanted was to put me in JAIL during every election.
Today, I go to the police station to sign every week; I am constantly under pressure…for what? Am I a criminal, a terrorist or a Naxalite or a Maoist? All because I speak for India, I speak for Hindus, I speak for nationalists. No Lutyens lobby will shout about FoE or FoS when a nationalist like me is arrested on fake cases or harassed but will shout for terrorists, ‘Tukde Tukde gang’, and for those who want Bharat Ki Barbadi. After all this, I stand rock solid for my Dharma having no intention of compromising.
(The writer is the founder of PostCard News)