The Kerala floods, arguably one of the worst natural calamity in recent times has left the state ravaged. As support from across the country flowed in, a lot of misinformation and fake news was furthered.
One of those assertions came from the Kerala Chief Minister Pinayari Vijayan asserted that he was informed by a UAE businessman called Yusuf Ali (who owns Lulu supermarkets) that the UAE government has extended Rs 700 crores aid to Kerala in the wake of floods. This was widely reported by Indian media. Later, news surfaced that the Indian government was most likely to reject the aid considering the policy in place for rejecting foreign aid for domestic disasters that has been in place since 2003.
As many used the news, sans facts, to demonise the Modi led central government, questions started being raised over the veracity of the news that UAE had offered the aid to Kerala. Now the UAE government has come out and claimed that no such official announcement for the flood relief is made by the UAE on any specific amount. The UAE Ambassador Ahmed Albanna said that there is no official announcement so far on the specific financial aid. Albanna categorically denied the announcement of Rs. 700 crore aid.
However, even after questions being raised and the UAE ambassador, Ahmed Albanna himself asserting that no official announcement has been made regarding the Rs 700 crores aid to Kerala by UAE, The New York Times continued to further the same narrative.
NYT published an article earlier this morning after the denial by the UAE ambassador, that India is set to reject the foreign aid extended by UAE.
The report said:
After devastating floods killed more than 400 people and engulfed entire towns in a southern state in India, the United Arab Emirates offered $100 million to help the recovery.
The Indian government’s response: thanks, but no thanks.
The NYT report, however, made no mention of the reasons why foreign aid is rejected by India in the face of disasters, or that the UAE ambassador has categorically denied any such announcement of Rs. 700 crore aid being extended to Kerala.
While one would ordinarily expect higher editorial standards from the New York Times, this is not the first time the publication has been caught furthering a narrative which could be considered fallacious and detrimental to the interests of India. NYT has been caught spreading falsities about the Indian economy and its anti-India racism in the past. NYT also used childrens’ deaths to malign Yogi government’s crackdown on illegal slaughterhouses and drew flak for calling the saree a ‘tool of Hindu nationalist campaign’. It had also in the past used lies to insult victims of the Godhra carnage.