Zee News falsely claimed on Friday that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi referred to the two accused in the shocking Udaipur killing, as "children".The Hindi news channel tried to misleadingly pass off Gandhi's remarks on the vandalism of his constituency office in Wayanad, Kerala as his comment on the Udaipur killing where a tailor was hacked to death on camera last month.
Zee News has since taken down the video from its YouTube channel and deleted its tweet. Rohit Ranjan, who anchored the prime-time show 'DNA' in which the byte was aired, also tweeted an apology.
In a shocking incident, two accused - Gaus Mohammad and Mohd Riyaz Ansari brutally hacked to death Kanhaiyalal, a tailor in Udaipur for making a social media post in support of former BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma who made remarks against Prophet Mohammad. The accused were arrested based on two videos they shared on their Facebook account - one showing them brutally hacking the victim to death and the second where they confessed to the crime and also threatened Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Udaipur saw widespread protests after the murder and curfew was imposed and internet suspended.
Zee News anchor Rohit Ranjan played Gandhi's byte where he spoke about those who vandalised the Kerala Congress office. However, the channel misreported Gandhi's remarks claiming he called the accused in the Udaipur killing - "children" who should be forgiven.
Zee News's broadcast can be seen below
After Zee News made the false claim, it was amplified by several Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders including Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Ajay Sherawat and Subrat Pathak. Some have since deleted their tweets.
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Right wing user Abhijit Iyer-Mitra also shared the false claim with the text, "How much lower can one fall? If you're Rahul Gandhi - it's a bottomless pit."
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BOOM found that Rahul Gandhi was referring to miscreants who vandalised his office on June 24, 2022 and not the accused in the Udaipur murder.
In the byte run by Zee News, Gandhi is seen speaking to several media persons . Taking a cue from that, we searched for news reports and found the same video uploaded by Asianet on July 1, 2022. Gandhi was visiting Wayanad and his office there and later spoke to journalists about the vandalism incident.
In the video uploaded by Asianet, at the 44 second mark, a reporter asks Gandhi about what he saw when he visited his constituency office that was vandalised.
To which, Rahul Gandhi said, "First of all its my office, but before being my office it is the office of the people of Wayanad. This is the office of the voice of the people of Wayanad. It's quite a unfortunate thing that has been done. Everywhere in the country you see the idea that violence will resort problems and violence never resolves problems. However, the children who did this, I mean they are also children, so its not fine. Its not a good thing to do, they have acted in an irresponsible way. I don't have any anger or hostility towards them."
The same video was also uploaded by Gandhi's verified Facebook page.
Responding to a question on the Supreme Court's remarks on Nupur Sharma, Rahul Gandhi said the ruling dispensation was responsible for the environment of anger and hatred in the country.
In his interaction with reporters Gandhi was not asked a question about the Udaipur killing.
According to a report in Indian Express, on June 24, more than 100 workers of the Student Federation of India, the student wing of the ruling CPIM, marched to Gandhi's office in Kalpetta, Wayanad, "demanding that he intervene to allay the anxiety of people in his constituency in the wake of a recent Supreme Court directive that made it mandatory for every protected forest tract and wildlife sanctuary to have an eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) of one kilometre from its boundaries."
The SFI members allegedly jumped the wall and entered the premises, shouted slogans, threw the furniture and broke some objects inside the office. A day after the incident, the Kerala police arrested 25 members for the same.
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