India Today consulting editor Rajdeep Sardesai has been taken off air by the channel for two weeks for claiming that a farmer's death during the January 26 tractor rally was due to police firing. Additionally, India Today has also deducted a month's salary from the anchor.
The Delhi Police countered the claim stating that the farmer Navneet Singh had died when his tractor toppled over and it later released a video of the accident.
BOOM reached out to Rajdeep Sardesai who refused to comment but sources at India Today have confirmed the action taken by the channel.
Farmers who have been protesting the central government's three new farm bills had taken out a tractor rally on three routes in Delhi on Republic Day. The rallies descended into violence as some farmers broke through barricades and clashed with the Delhi Police.
A section of farmers managed to breach the iconic Red Fort complex where they hoisted the Sikh religious Nishan Sahib flag.
The violence led to the death of the protester Navneet Singh, while the Delhi Police claimed that more than 300 police personnel have been injured.
In a now-deleted tweet, Sardesai wrote, "One person, 45-year-old Navneet killed allegedly in police firing at ITO. Farmers tell me: the 'sacrifice' will not go in vain". The tweet also included a photo of Navneet Singh's body wrapped in the Indian tricolour.
Following an outrage on Twitter and denial by the Delhi Police, Sardesai then shared the video on Twitter and also told viewers on India Today's live coverage that while farmers had alleged that police had shot Navneet Singh, the video released by the police showed that the tractor he was traveling overturned.
However, BJP leaders like Kapil Mishra and Amit Malviya have called for Sardesai to be arrested for spreading fake news. #ArrestRajdeepNow has since began trending on Twitter.
This is the second time within a week that Sardesai's tweets have been called out for misinformation. On January 24, Sardesai tweeted that the Rashtrapati Bhavan had unveiled a portrait of an actor portraying Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose instead of Bose himself. He has since deleted the tweet.
BOOM had debunked the claim and found that the portrait was in fact indeed of Bose.
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