A report in Indian Express claims that an article published in The Wire on 19th January 2018 led to violent protests in Assam, bordering Nagaland. As per the report, following the publishing of that article in The Wire, which quoted one Jagdamba Mall, as an RSS veteran, widespread violence broke out.
The report referred to Mall as an RSS leader and quoted him suggesting a ‘separate development authorities’ for 10 Naga-inhabited districts of Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. The report states that a one-time grant of Rs. 500 crore would be given. The report further claims that one of the groups interpreted ‘development authority’ as a step toward forward inclusion of the district with “Greater Nagalim” in the future. This led to widespread violent protests.
However, as per the report in Indian Express, it is revealed that Mall is not associated with the RSS and Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal issued a statement assuring Assam’s geographical integrity would not be compromised. However, by then, many protestors had also tried to set the RSS office on fire. The firing that killed two persons took place in Maibang, 50 km from Haflong, after a mob set the railway station there on fire and also removed railway tracks on the Lumding-Silchar hill section Thursday. As per Indian Express report, Sankar Das, a senior spokesperson of the RSS, also denied Mall being associated with the RSS.
In the follow up article which The Wire published on 27th January, 2018, The Wire published a rejoinder from Mall, where they again referred to him as RSS veteran pracharak. The Indian Express report states that Mall confirmed sharing his idea and views on Naga peace accord to a journalist, who ‘totally misinterpreted’ it which ‘led to such serious problems including death of two innocent persons’.
This is not the first time left leaning digital portals have misreported or misinterpreted news which led to deaths. Earlier, Quint journalist Poonam Agarwal had carried out a ‘sting’ operation at Deolali cantonment in Nashik, Maharashtra. Following publishing of the video, the jawan Lance Naik Roy Mathew, who was stung, committed suicide.