How DNA’s misleading headline tries to portray Dr Kafeel Khan as ‘not a villain’

Dr Kafeel Khan’s image in the eyes of the public has alternated from Hero to Villain, from White to Black. In the aftermath of the horrific incident where 33 infants had died in Gorakhpur’s BRD Medical College in August this year, conflicting reports emerged. In one of the earliest reports on him, DNA’s reporter Srawan Shukla had declared him a “hero”:

Within a few hours of this report, it was reported that the “hero” had been sacked from his post. An FIR was lodged under various sections of the  IPC, Prevention of Corruption Act and the Indian Medical Council Act. Meanwhile social media users had also dug up tales of his murky past.

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Cut to today, 25 November 2017, Dr Khan had yet another “role reversal”. In a story again in DNA, again by the same reporter Srawan Shukla, Khan was now labelled as “Not a Villain”. The headline claimed that this was because charges against the “hero” were dropped:

No sooner did this story break, the usual suspects took to social media to make political statements. First, the executive editor of the DNA had this to say:

Self-proclaimed liberal commentator Salil Tripathi went so far to say that this was a symbolic apology to Dr Khan. NDTV’s Nidhi Razdan who is known for running entire debates based on fake news, Retweeted him:

AAP’s media manager also jumped in:

So did this propagandist for AAP, ironically calling others propagandist:

A filmmaker who is better known these days for tweeting only:

A journalist known for using fake pictures to stoke tensions in Kashmir, had this remark:

While the above and many like them are currently using this story to score political points, it is unclear as to how many have actually read DNA’s story. While the title so desperately wants to re-declare him as a hero, the story reveals that far from being a hero, he has still been charged under Sections 120-B, 308 and 409 of the IPC. Only the charges under Section 7/13 of Anti-Corruption Act, Section 66 of IT Act and Section 15 of the Indian Medical Council Act have been currently dropped, as per the Investigative officer Abhishek Singh, due to lack of evidence.

The charges which remain against Dr Khan are Section 120-B (criminal conspiracy), Section 308 (attempt to commit culpable homicide) and Section 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant). What sort of “hero” continues to be charged under the above sections. Can filing a case under the above sections be seen as an “apology” from the Government, as claimed by some commentators above?

Interestingly, the most accurate reporting in this case from the Hindi media, which is often vilified by the English speaking lutyens cabal, for sensationalizing news. There was no editorialisation, and no desperate hunger to portray Dr Khan as either a hero or a villain:

Times Of India, Lucknow edition too put out a balanced tweet, again without feeling the need to paint Dr Khan as hero or a villain:

In what could be signs of a late realization that the headline was grossly misleading, DNA’s executive editor who had earlier pompously broken the story, later issued a clarification tweet. Of course, this tweet got nowhere close to the attention his earlier tweet got:

For the time being though, the people who do not read beyond the headlines, will bask in the glory of their re-discovered “hero”.

It is interesting to note that in the original instance, and even today, it was DNA and the same reporter Srawan Shukla, who were desperate to paint Dr Khan as a “hero”. As the investigations are on, only time will tell who was the hero, and who was the villain. For tonight, DNA has proved to be the joker.


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