A viral message claiming a journalist with Dinamalar, a Tamil language newspaper, who asked Home Minister Amit Shah about Bharatiya Janata Party's dwindling presence in South India was fired from the paper, is false.
On May 24, Home Minister Amit Shah held a press meet in Delhi to talk about the 'Sengol' the sceptre which will be placed in the new parliament to be inaugurated on May 28. He also spoke about the sceptre's ties to Tamil Nadu. When taking questions, he called upon a Dinamalar journalist who after introducing himself and speaking about the the Sengol's importance in Tamil Nadu, attempted to ask Shah about the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party's loss in Karnataka.
The journalist, Venkataraman said, "Now, the southern India people have shut the door for the BJP...". At this, Shah cut him off and said in Hindi, "Your question is done" and looked away. The journalist continued on and asked in Hindi, "You don’t have a reaction, sir?" To which Shah replied, "Did I not already say politics doesn’t have to be discussed today?"
A snippet of this part of the press meet went viral with many praising the reporter for asking the question. Several Twitter users also remarked on how Shah dodged the question about BJP not being present as a ruling state government in any southern state, barring an alliance in the Union Territory of Puducherry.
Following this, Karthik Rana, who identifies himself on Twitter as the State Secretary for Tamil Nadu Youth Congress tweeted an image purporting to be a statement from Dinamalar in Tamil which claimed that the journalist who asked Amit Shah the question was no longer associated with the paper.
The tweet text said, "Venkatraman, a journalist from Dinamalar, was fired by the newspaper's managing director after he asked Amit Shah a question about the BJP's loss in Karnataka during a press conference yesterday."
The same claim was shared on Facebook.
BOOM found that the claim is false and that the reporter, was not sacked and is still with the Delhi bureau of Dinamalar.
We first reached out to the reporter Venkataraman who rubbished the viral claim and said, "I have been with the Dinamalar for more than a decade now and I have not been fired. I don't know why these rumours started doing the rounds. I am currently the Special Correspondent in the Delhi bureau of the Dinamalar."
A search on Dinamalar's Twitter account led us to a statement posted by the paper calling out the viral claim as false. The tweet in Tamil translates to, "Fake news in the name of Dinamalar Managing Director".
Below is the translation of the same as provided by Google Lens
We then reached out to the News Editor of the Chennai-based news daily, Sethu Nagarajan, who confirmed that the reporter had not been fired. "No, (the viral claims) those are rumours. J. Venkatraman, who had questioned Amit Shah ji is still working for us as our New Delhi correspondent."
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