Social media questions The Hindu’s claims of Elphinstone stampede victim’s molestation story

On 1st October, The Hindu published an article “Elphinstone stampede: Dying woman molested on bridge by bystander, video shows”. The story written by a journalist named Vedika Chaubey had a screenshot of an 8 second video she had tweeted along with her story.

The story said,

A woman victim of the stampede, seconds from breathing her last, was molested by a bystander as she lay atop a pile of victims on the foot overbridge (FOB) on Friday, a video clip shows. The woman, trapped by the bodies, reaches out weakly for help before dropping her hand and breathing her last.

The story does not contain the video, but the tweet which she posted while plugging her story had an 8 second video. This is not corroborated by any of the witnesses present at the scene, and the 8 second video accompanying her tweet is rather inconclusive. The story was then picked up and published by Firstpost, Zee News, Indiatimes and DNA amongst others with The Hindu story as the source.

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While the mainstream media was blindly trusting The Hindu, social media was sceptical. People started questioning the authenticity of the article and posted the longer version of the video where it seems as if the person accused of molestation is actually trying to help the victim of the stampede pushed against the railing.

Some users posted images of the video which further showed that the mischievously edited video posted by Chaubey showed it was more likely case of the man trying to help the woman instead of groping her.

Longer video from other angle shows that before the alleged molestation, the man accused of molesting the stampede victim was flaying his hands to try and help those stuck near the railing.

Having said that, if The Hindu has a better and longer video clip backing the assertions of Vedika, they should now share it in wake of questions raised by people.

While on one hand we are trying very hard to fight the ‘marital rape law could be misused like dowry law’ mindset people have to criminalise marital rape, incidents like these work as a deterrent to strengthen our case.

This is not the first time the author Vedika Chaubey has written mischievous article where she had claimed that an RTI filed by an activist had revealed that the Central Railway had been buying food items under its catering department for highly inflated prices. The Railway Ministry had refuted the report of the ‘catering scam’.

While we firmly believe that the perverseness of human nature is such that this kind of thing is entirely not impossible, jumping to conclusion about a crime as serious as molestation without evidence is little unfair. Little more reporting and little less sensationalising couldn’t hurt.


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