Times Now on 2 June flashed a news on the BJP president, Amit Shah’s visit to Kerala, where the saffron party is making desperate attempts to gain the much-needed foothold.
One of Times Now’s flashes said, “Heads Now To Thundery Pakistan, Beef Ban Now Gets Bigger.’
This left many Keralites cutting across religious beliefs utterly incensed.
Journalist Anupama Mohan, who has her roots in Kerala, wrote a passionate letter to the state chief minister, Pinarayi Vijayan, asking him to take strict action against the channel.
She wrote, “In the wake of BJP National President Amit Shah’s visit to Kerala, Times Now Channel today alluded to the Indian State – Kerala – as Pakistan. This is actually not an insult, but it is meant to be one by the channel. Not just that, this is clearly intented to promote enimity between different groups.
“The Channel has violated both broadcasting standards and the hate-speech laws. The Channel is waging war against the fundamental spirits of Federalism and Unity of our Indian Union. As an Indian and a Malayali, I feel that my inalienable rights as a citizen has been disregarded and disrespected. I request the Chief Minister of Kerala Shri. Pinarayi Vijayan to ask the Information and Broadcasting Ministry to take necessary action against the Channel.”
Her Facebook post went viral in no time evoking more scathing reactions from the social media users. Many felt that the channel had deliberately played a mischief given that Kerala has a sizeable Muslim population and the news in question about beef, often cosumed by Muslims.
However, faced with widespread condemnation, when Times Now issued a clarification, it blamed a typo for the error forcing many to wonder how a typo can make Kerala into Pakistan.
Mocking Times Now’s clarification, Mohan wrote, “Times Now’s “it was a typo” reminded me of this story : Man to friend : I made a teeny-tinyFreudian slip while talking to my mother-in-law this morning. Friend : What was it ?
Man : I really wanted to say “Pass the sugar, please.” but instead, I said ” You have ruined my life, you stupid cow!”.
Statutory Warning : The joke is not politically correct. It is insulting to women in general and mother-in-laws in particular. I sincerely regret the inadvertent error. I was going to type light of my life, and stupid cow came out! #BeLikeTimesNow”
Before Times Now thought Kerala was Pakistan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had likened the state to Somalia. But that was to seek votes during the 2016 assembly elections.
Here are some reactions from Facebook and Twitter;
Aabha Das: Wonder what panchagavya laden shit they were smoking to expect us to believe them when call that a teensy little typo.
Times Now says autocorrect turned "Kerala" to "Pakistan." I guess just like Times Now automatically turned Indian news into dung pic.twitter.com/9RzlpJ5QPm
— IndiaExplained (@IndiaExplained) June 3, 2017
— Augustine Varkey (@logicalindianz) June 3, 2017
After dissolving poison in the minds of North indians, Times Now heads towards South.. calling Kerala as Pakistan for food habits. pic.twitter.com/bgzXJZ8N0Z
— Kapil (@kapsology) June 3, 2017
So Times Now called Kerala "Pakistan"? Wowww….Just when one thought Arnab was the pits, Times Now proves they re worse than Arnab.
— Rohit TK (@Teekkayy) June 2, 2017
Congratulation to everyone of us.??? Times Now just declared kerala as best Pakistan ???? ⏩???? in the World. UNESCO and NASA approved it. ?
— Roshan Thomas (@roshanpty) June 2, 2017