Communal riots of Kasganj in Uttar Pradesh, where one youth was killed and two badly injured last week, exposed the true face of some sections of the Indian media. Several journalists belonging to Indian Today Group were slammed by members of their own fraternity for running what was widely perceived to be attempts to further inflame an already volatile situation in Kasganj.
Two journalists in particular, Sweta Singh and Rohit Sardana, were exposed by ABP journalist Abhisar Sharma, on how they had posted lies on the Kasganj riots from their Twitter handles. Another senior editor of India Today group, Abhijit Majumder, too was condemned for resorting to lies when he astonishingly claimed about the killing of one Rahul Upadhyay while blaming Muslims.
Much to his embarrassment, Upadhyay was alive and had never gone missing. It turned out to be a dirty and dangerous campaign by the likes of Majumdar to create more riots. At least that’s how it was perceived by an overwhelming majority of sane journalists and social media users.
Majumder, a senior editor with one of India’s most renowned media houses, had confidently posted something, which was an utter lie. His fake claims that ‘we are told that they deserved this for raising “provocative” slogans and carrying saffron flags in “Muslim locality” had every ingredient to cause more bloodshed in and around Uttar Pradesh.
What was even more shocking was how the senior India Today editor clarified his fake tweet killing Upadhyay and blaming Muslims when the latter was very much alive and had never visited Kasganj.
In his so-called clarification, Majumdar, wrote, “While Chandan Gupta was killed #Kasganj violence, Rahul Upadhyay apparently got injured in a separate incident. Initial local media reports said he died in riot. Deleted an earlier tweet that mentions Rahul, although what I said in that tweet about dangerous justifications stands.”
Upadhyay later said that he was not even present in Kasganj so the reports of he being left injured were fake. “One of my friends called me and said there are rumours on social media about me getting killed during the Kasganj violence. I asked him to forward me the posts and saw that it was true,” Upadhyay was quoted as saying.
He added, “But let me make it clear that I was not present in Kasganj at the time when the riots took place. I had gone to my village. I am absolutely fine.”
None of India Today’s journalists have apologised for their fake propaganda on Twitter even though people have been tagging their boss, Aroon Purie, on Twitter. The group bosses have not yet issued any advisories or statements condemning the abhorring acts of some of the top faces of the India Today group.
Reacting to the fake propaganda on Twitter, even veteran journalist, Rajdeep Sardesai, wondered if FIRs should be filed against those who indulged in spreading lies on Kasganj. While reacting to Upadhyay being alive, he wrote, “Will anyone apologise? FIRs be filed for stoking communal violence?”
Sardesai and Majumder are colleagues in India Today group, where the former has been working as a consulting editor while the latter edits Mail Today newspaper.