BJP's Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Zee News anchor booked for 'doctored' Rahul Gandhi video

An FIR has been lodged against BJP national spokesperson and former Union minister of state Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore on Sunday for spreading falsehood by doctoring Rahul Gandhi’s comment in Kerala

BJP's Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Zee News anchor booked for 'doctored' Rahul Gandhi video

Prakash Bhandari

An FIR has been lodged against the BJP national spokesperson and former Union minister of state for information & broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore on Sunday. The FIR against Rathore and the Zee TV anchor Rohit Ranjan and others was filed for allegedly presenting Congress MP Rahul Gandhi's remark on the vandalisation of Rahul Gandhi’s office in Wayanad in Kerala and wrongly relating the statement to the brutal murder of Kanhaiya Lal of Udaipur.

Ram Singh Kaswan, a Congress leader from Churu district, who is the complainant said that Rathore and others intentionally spread falsehood by doctoring Rahul Gandhi’s comment in Kerala to appear as if it was a remark on the Udaipur’s tailor Kanhaiya Lal’s murder.

Ram Singh Kanswan has filed the FIR in the Bani Park police station under IPC sections 504,505 (criminal intimidation) 153 A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth), and 295 A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) and 120 B (criminal conspiracy).

“The anchor of the show aired a statement of Rahul Gandhi on Student’s Federation of India (SFI) violence on his Wayanad office and mischievously doctored it to make it seem like it was a comment on the heinous crime of murder of Kanhaiya Lal in Udaipur,” said Kaswan.

Soon after Zee News aired the fake news, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot criticised the channel. Gehlot alleged that the fake news was spread by the media group in conspiracy with Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Maj Surendra Punia, and Kamlesh Saini, who also shared the clip on Twiter to reap political advantage and harm Rahul Gandhi with an intention to trigger public sentiments.

In the Zee clip, Rahul called the SFI activists who vandalised his office “children” and said that he does not have any anger toward them. The channel, however, aired the comment as Rahul’s remarks towards the two men — Riyaz Akhtari and Gaus Mohammad— who killed tailor Kanhaiya Lal. The channel later apologised for the error. In his complaint, Kaswan alleged that Rathore and others tweeted the clip in an attempt to create animosity among people.

Earlier the Congress party demanded an apology from BJP leaders for sharing an edited video of Rahul Gandhi played by the TV news channel that falsely suggested that he called the Udaipur murder accused “children".

In a letter to BJP president J P Nadda, Congress communication in-charge Jairam Ramesh, referred to the news report and said that Rahulji In his comments had spoken about the workers of the Students Federation of India who attacked his office in Kerala’s Wayanad last week.

Ramesh wrote, “What is of even greater concern, is that several of your party colleagues, including Rajyavardhan Rathore, MP, Subrat Pathak MP, Kamlesh Saini, MLA, and others, have enthusiastically and without verification published and shared the deliberately fabricated and distorted reportage.”

“Despite being cautioned by my party colleagues that the clip was maliciously false and misleading, Rathore persisted with amplifying the same, first deleting and then re-uploading the same. This leaves no doubt that his actions were deliberate and part of your party’s strategy to defame the former INC president, to defame the Congress party, and to further polarise an already sensitive, communal situation,” he also said.

Ramesh also said in the letter, “We expect that you and your party colleagues will cease and desist from spreading such falsehoods. Furthermore, I expect that you will immediately issue an appropriate apology on behalf of your colleagues who have acted with such reckless disregard towards the truth.”

He warned that if the apology was not issued, Congress will initiate legal action against the BJP leaders. “We have already initiated appropriate legal action against the original broadcaster,” Ramesh said.

Zee News had apologised for the error on Saturday. Zee News anchor Rohit Ranjan said, “We presented the news with a misleading context in our show DNA and we regret it.”

Speaking to reporters over the attack on his office in Wayanad, Rahul Gandhi had said, “They are also children… it’s not a good thing to do. They have acted in an irresponsible way. I don’t have any anger or hostility towards them. They have done a silly thing.”

Rahul Gandhi, without referring to any specific incident, on Saturday tweeted in Hindi, “Propaganda and lies are the foundation of BJP-RSS. The whole of India knows the history of BJP-RSS, which shook the country in the fire of hatred. No matter what these traitors do to break India, the Congress will continue to do more work to unite it.”

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Published: 04 Jul 2022, 2:28 PM