A 2012 opinion piece by Abhijit Banerjee has been revived by The Frustrated Indian, a right wing news website, falsely claiming that the Nobel Laureate said, “Nirbhaya’s rapists had no access to sex hence they raped."
BOOM found that the quote attributed to Banerjee is false and the opinion piece was in fact written months before the Nirbhaya rape case in Delhi. The said piece appeared in Hindustan Times, written by Banerjee in response to a comment by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee about increasing number of rapes in the country.
While The Frustrated Indian deleted its story, BOOM was able to access the cached version. Click here for an archive of the article.
The October 15 story by The Frustrated Indian reads, "Abhijit Banerjee, like any other left-liberal intellectual, has made many substandard and absurd arguments. In October 2012, when anger against Delhi gang rape was at its peak, Banerjee argued that “inequality of access to sex” is among the reasons behind rapes. “There are few forces more powerful than sexual desire and few forms of inequality more palpable than inequality of access to sex,” wrote Banerjee in an article in Hindustan Times."
The Frustrated Indian, formerly known as Rightlog describes itself as a site providing, "an alternate Center-Right narrative." BOOM has earlier fact checked content published by Rightlog.
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Multiple social media users shared the same article by The Frustrated Indian believing it to be true. Twitter user Gaurav Pradhan, who is followed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi also shared the article saying, “Nobel for Sexonomics. It covers from Finance of a poor to Sexual hunger of poor.” BOOM has busted Pradhan several times in the past for sharing misinformation.
Nobel for Sexonomics. It covers from Finance of a poor to Sexual hunger of poor— #GauravPradhan 🇮🇳 (@DrGPradhan) October 15, 2019
“Nirbhaya’s rapists had no access to sex hence they raped”@NobelPrize #AbhijitBanerjee had claimed in 2012
The article was later deleted and is not available on the website anymore but many even shared a screenshot of the article claiming that Banerjee justified Nirbhaya rapists.
Indian-American economist, Banerjee was recently awarded the Nobel Prize in economics for 2019 along with two others Esther Duflo and Michael Kramer.
BOOM found that the claim made by The Frustrated Indian is false. Banerjee’s article in the Hindustan Times was published on October 30, 2012 nearly two months before Nirbhaya rape and murder case that happened on December 16, 2012.
A few netizens pointed out the same on Twitter.
Nirbhaya Case happened on 16 December 2012. Abhijit Banerjee wrote article 30 Oct 2012. pic.twitter.com/OprrURv8EH— Rahul Raj (@bhak_sala) October 16, 2019
Abhijit Banerjee's article was written after CM Mamata Banerjee said that rape cases are on the rise in the country because men and women interact with each other more freely now.
Mamata at an event organised by the Jago Bangla, which is an organ of the All India Trinamool Congress had taken a dig at a section of media for "glorifying rape" and had also accused it of "news pollution." While she refrained from mentioning a specific media house, she was referring to the extensive coverage of the gang-rape of a first-year college student in Bardhaman district for the past few days, when she remarked that the State was being portrayed as one where the crime is recurrent, reported The Hindu.
In the same event, she went onto say, "Earlier, if men and women held hands, parents would reprimand them. Now everything is done openly. its like and open market with open options."
In this reference, Abhijit Banerjee in his opinion piece said, "I don’t always agree with Mamata Banerjee but I don’t see what’s so bizarre about her suggestion that the recent rash of rapes in India has something to do with public displays of intimacy far more graphic than the one that so upset me." He further writes, "There are few forces more powerful than sexual desire and few forms of inequality more palpable than inequality of access to sex: all the rich guys, to a first approximation, get all the pretty girls, at least if pretty is what Bollywood (or Hollywood) tells us it should be."
Banerjee in his explanation, also wrtote, "None of this should be read as a defence of rape." He further went onto highlight the fact that there are more forms of inequality to worry about than just money.
Mamata Banerjee had also linked increase in population to rise in rape cases. She had said, “You are claiming that incidents of rape are increasing. The population is also increasing…” Infact, earlier in 2012, Mamata Banerjee had also called the Park Street rape case as "cooked up to malign the government" and "fabricated" but had later taken a U-turn and had assured all help to the team of the National Commission for Women (NCW).
BOOM has previously debunked fake news around Nobel Laureate Abhijit Banerjee. Click here to read.