Information about more and more horrifying incidents that took place in the last couple of months in Manipur are coming out every day. News reports are coming out stating that 2 other women were also allegedly raped and killed on the same day, May 4th, the day that shocking video was taken.
The ‘graphic’ video sent shockwaves across the world, and it reached a political tipping point, forcing the Prime Minister Narendra Modi to make a brief statement void of any specifics. However, Modi subtly engaged in ‘whataboutery’ by pointing out Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh which are opposition ruled states.
Following Narendra Modi, BJP’s powerful IT wing indulged in full on whataboutery in which many news outlets either joined or fell prey to. BJP’s Amit Malviya claimed that a BJP candidate in Panchla in Howrah, West Bengal was paraded naked like in the case of Manipur. These claims tried equating the violence in Manipur (including those against women) caused due to multitude of ethnic conflicts, hate and failures of the State & Union Government to the crimes committed against women by individuals in other parts of the country. One could argue that their efforts are largely successful in deviating away from the discussion of core issues in Manipur.
Many news outlets such as First Post, ANI, Zee News among others reported this alleged incident. Many of these news reports quoted Amit Malviya’s tweet in their article with no other source mentioned. However, the DGP of West Bengal denied any such incident ever happening and also added that no such evidence is found.
But before the clarification from the West Bengal Police could come, BJP’s false claim had reached every corner of the country. Even in Tamil Nadu, the southernmost state of the country, reputed news outlets like Hindu Tamil Thisai have reported on this incident which made it look like an actual incident.
YouTurn contacted Hindu Tamil Thisai and asked for sources for the news article, and they cited First Post and other English media. When we explained that the Police have denied that there is no evidence for the incident ever happening, they have updated their article in their website. But the damage is already done, as it came in both their print and their digital version. Many other news outlets in Tamil Nadu have done the same error.
Similarly, ANI published a false news that the culprit who was arrested as the main accused for nakedly parading the 2 women in Manipur was a Muslim. The same was picked up by many other news outlets throughout India, including Puthiya Thalaimurai in Tamil Nadu. Apart from this, many right-wing supporters and social media influencers also have spread it throughout the country.
Before we could address this one claim, Amit Malviya and his army of social media accounts bombarded the internet with claims of atrocities committed against women in West Bengal and many other states which are mostly ruled by the opposition and indulged in more ‘whataboutery’. This exercise shifted and divided the attention of the news media and the public from the systematic failure in Manipur to other isolated incidents of crimes and violence against women in other states.
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