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Fact Check: Arrest of YouTuber Karthik Gopinath shared by OpIndia Editor-in-Chief with misleading claim

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Editor-in-Chief Nupur J Sharma shared the misleading OpIndia article covering the arrest of YouTuber Karthik Gopinath with the misleading claim that Karthik was arrested for raising funds for a temple. On further enquiry, it was found that Karthik was found to be collecting money without permission from the relevant government boards and faced swindling charges.

On May 31, OpIndia Editor-in-Chief Nupur J Sharma tweeted an OpIndia article on the arrest of YouTuber Karthik Gopinath. The Tweet stated that Karthik was arrested "because he was raising funds for temples." She further claimed that these issues remain confined to the local media, and not to be covered nationally.

The article by OpIndia, dated May 30, 2022, is titled: "Tamil Nadu: Tamil YouTuber Karthik Gopinath arrested for collecting funds for temple, BJP criticizes the move".

The article states that Karthik was detained for gathering funds for several desecrated temples at Sivurachur, Perambalur district, Tamil Nadu through the fund-raising app Milaap.

The article also highlighted a "debate" over the private collection of funds for a temple under the management of Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR&CE), a state government department of Tamil Nadu.

Fact Check

By doing a keyword search using the name of the accused, several news articles covered by multiple news portals were found. Nupur J Sharma's claim that these issues remained confined to local media is false since multiple national media channels have covered the incident. National outlets like The Hindu, IndiaToday, The Print, The News Minute and New Indian Express published articles on the issue even before Nupur J Sharma's tweet on May 30, while Times Now did a story a day later.

The articles state that Karthik was arrested based on a complaint by T Aravindan, HR&CE Executive Officer of Arulmigu Madhura Kaliamman Thirukoil in Perambalur. According to the complaint and the police, Gopinath had collected between 40 and 50 lakhs from the fundraising app Milaap and some on his personal account. This was done without the permission of the HR&CE, which is responsible for the administration of the temple. The articles further stated that he had used some of that money for personal purposes.

In conclusion, Nupur J Mishra's claim that the YouTuber Karthik Gopinath was arrested for raising money for Hindu temples is misleading. Karthik was arrested for "unauthorized" fundraising and personal use of the fund. The OpIndia article had no mention of Karthik's fundraising being unauthorized, or that the complaint was filed by the HR&CE itself.

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