State / YSR Congress Party leader Y.V. Subba Reddy’s Wiki page turns into ‘religious battlefield’

The Hindu : Jun 07, 2019, 10:18 AM

The Wikipedia page of YSR Congress Party leader and former MP Y.V. Subba Reddy was defaced multiple times on Thursday over ‘declaration’ of his religion by troublemakers.

The issue surfaced after sources in the YSRCP said that Mr. Reddy was being considered for the post of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams chairman. Within in no time, a section of users on social media platforms began wrongly pointing out his religious affiliation.

In no time, Mr. Reddy’s page on Wikipedia started witnessing traffic with users trying to add his religion to the profile. Until Wednesday, Mr. Reddy’s profile had only three lines of description with no mention of religion. Editing activity started early on Thursday when an anonymous user added the field religion and attributed “converted Christian” to it, according to the edit history.

Non-existent link

Another guest user changed the religion to Hindu and it was immediately changed to Christian by a user going by the name Chitrada. Apparently, the same user also added the phrase “he worked for church welfare and protection,” citing the source to a non-existent link on the Ministry of Home Affairs website.

As of 7 pm, the page was edited about 95 times. Some users tried to remove the field of religion but it was added again and some even went overboard issuing threats in the name of god.

The addition of religion as Christian to the page fuelled further debates and controversy on social media and the screenshot of the same was circulated widely.

“Please don’t take Wikipedia as a benchmark for everything. Even his religion was changed from Hindu to Muslim for a while. The edits were made early in the morning,” tweeted a user Harish Mella. The YSRCP is yet to make an official announcement regarding the appointment of Mr. Reddy.

Wikipedia volunteers and contributes who restored the original page in between reported ‘persistent vandalism by multiple users’ and ‘false hate propaganda.’

In a last resort, Wikipedia locked the page for guest users to protect after restoring the information that has no mention of religion.

Mr. Subba Reddy was seen at public meetings and media conferences donning Ayyappa mala.

Wikipedia allows guests and registered users among its visitors to edit description on its pages.

Edits will be attributed to names in case of registered users and IP addresses in case of anonymous/guest users.