Media spreads lies about ‘only vegetarians being eligible for gold medal’ in Pune University

It was reported today by ABP Majha that Pune University has come up with a circular that says only vegetarians and non alcoholics would be eligible for the Gold Medal.

The order embedded in their article also said that the eligibility criteria include students having participated in blood donation, shramdaan meaning labor donation, environment protection, pollution control work, literacy, cleanliness drive, and aids awareness drive etc apart from being vegetarian and non addicts.

Soon, this news was picked up by other National news outlets without verifying the facts mentioned.

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The same lie was repeated by ‘India Today’,  which had curated the ‘TheQuint’ report. Many other national media outlets also picked up this lie and ran with it without verifying facts.

Even Supriya Sule who is an MP from NCP, reacted to this false news and expressed her surprise

The lie took an ideological turn with the statements of Santosh Shinde, Pune district president of Sambhaji brigade who said, “We are condemning the circular issued by the university. In many government hostels, students are given non-veg food and even in midday meal, students get eggs to eat. While the education department is providing non-veg to students, the SPPU management is forcing students to go for veg. I feel the university management is following certain ideology.”

The truth, as reported by DNA is that this circular is a 10 year old circular and the conditions of eligibility are not decided by Pune University but the trust that sponsors the Yog Maharshi Shelarmama gold medal award.

Arvind Shaligram, registrar of Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) said, “The circular was first issued in 2006 and since then every year, university is issuing the circular with the same content. The university has not given these conditions. All the conditions mentioned in the circular have been decided by the trust of Yog Maharshi Shelarmama who gives the gold medal award. These conditions were set ten years back only and every year, the university is only issuing the circular with the same content.”

Infact, if the Media houses truly wanted to verify facts, they could have simply searched circulars uploaded on the Pune University official website. We found the circulars (1) (2) from 2012. A circular from 2008 also says the same.

A 10 year old circular catching the media spotlight now, in 2017, certainly raises many suspicions. One wonders if these inconsequential details are being spun into lies simply to divide the nation and create fault lines. The fact that media houses can’t run basic check on fact is a scathing indictment of the falling standards of our National Media. A similar ploy was earlier run by sections of the media when past circulars were hyped up to create outrage.

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