Trinamool Congress Rajya Sabha MP Derek O’Brien has lashed out at India Today Executive Editor Deep Halder for peddling fake news about rape and molestations of women in the immediate aftermath of the assembly election results that gave a historic third term in office to Mamata Banerjee on 2 May.
Halder had tweeted quoting the Bengal unit of the BJP, “Two BJP women poll agents gangraped, many women molested in Birbhum: Bengal BJP @IndiaToday.”
However, the Birbhum Police refuted the allegations saying that there was no truth to the allegations. NN Tripathi, SP, Birbhum told news agency ANI, “Since y’day news on rape of 2 women & molestation of some other women in Nanoor is being circulated on social media. We verified the info & also spoke to local BJP leaders, they’re unaware of any such incident. I inform everyone that it’s fake news.”
Faced with widespread condemnation and fear of police action, Halder took to Twitter to announce that he was deleting his earlier tweet in light of the statement from the Birbhum Police. He wrote, “EC-appointed Birbhum district SP Nagendra Tripathi has said reports of gangr@pe in Birbhum are fake. So I am deleting my tweet where I had quoted Bengal BJP’s allegation of the r@pe of two party workers.”
Reacting to his India Today representative’s tweet, O’Brien wrote, “Don’t EVER try this again. You or anyone else. This time caught red-handed. Filthy RUMOR MONGER and Bengal hater. Your publishers @HarperCollinsIN and your employers @indiatoday should be ashamed of you.”
Don’t EVER try this again. You or anyone else. This time caught red-handed. Filthy RUMOR MONGER and Bengal hater. Your publishers @HarperCollinsIN and your employers @indiatoday should be ashamed of you. https://t.co/xmVIevP2jC
— Derek O’Brien | ডেরেক ও’ব্রায়েন (@derekobrienmp) May 4, 2021
Several fact-checking websites had found that videos circulated as post-poll violence by Trinamool workers were fake. In one such instance, the Boomlive website found that an old video from Odisha was used to claim that Trinamool workers had indulged in the post poll violence that broke out in West Bengal.
Meanwhile, Mamata Banerjee was sworn in as the chief minister of Bengal for the third time on Wednesday. Banerjee said that the police was being controlled by the Election Commission and now that she’s taken control of the administration, she would ensure that no one is allowed to carry out violence in the state.