The most dangerous are those who have nothing to lose. With their faulty statistics and biased reporting which has been exposed time and again, IndiaSpend hardly has any credibility left to lose. Which makes them a dangerous agenda peddling platform. The latest report by Swarajya exposes their another attempt at cherrypicking and selective reportage to boost the number of Muslim victims in their ‘hate crime watch’ list.
In October 2018, eight-year-old Azeem died in South Delhi following a scuffle in the playground. Liberals had turned his death into ‘lynching’ and ‘hate crime’ even as police demolished their claims. A month after this incident, another incident took place at the same place where some mosque-goers had claimed that some people had pelted stones at them. IndiaSpend considers it ‘hate crime’.
It mentions the religion of perpetrators as ‘unknown’.
The truth is far from what IndiaSpend has claimed. As reported by Swarajya, the two couples mentioned in the above report, Mumtaz and his wife Shabana and Liaqat Ali and his wife Saroj, fought and injured each other. Essentially, victims were also perpetrators and vice-versa and all belong to the same religion. You really can’t make it up.
Near Hauz Khas, in Begumpur area, is South Delhi’s biggest madarsa. Jamia Faridiya and Jama Masjid is surrounded by Valmiki Camp where about 500 families belonging to Valmiki community (a scheduled caste) and about 20-25 Muslim families live. There is land nearby which the people claim is public land and the madarsa claims it as its own. This was one of the major reasons for a scuffle between the communities. Police intervened and the contentious passage was closed permanently and a separate route was created for the residents.
However, in the last week of November, another scuffle broke out between some residents and madarsa owners. IndiaSpend, its obsession to peddle a narrative, cherrypicked Inspector Vijay Singh’s statement from Indian Express report. Inspector Singh had said, “Mumtaz and his wife Shabana, and Liaqat Ali, his wife Saroj and their daughter sustained minor injuries and were taken to the hospital. The quarrel is reportedly over a route.” IndiaSpend took this quote to list the four as ‘victims’ while ignoring the fact that the quarrel was over a route.
According to Swarajya, Liaqat Ali and his wife Shabana aka Saroj live in the Valmiki colony mentioned above and Mohammad Mumtaz is a teacher and caretaker of the madarsa. The scuffle took place mainly between these two couples.
According to the residents of Valmiki colony, some women had gone to check the updates of the new route which was being constructed. Arguments broke out between them and Mohammad Mumtaz from madarsa and he reportedly hit them with a stick. As per Liaqat, that is when he stepped in to protect the women and himself got injured by the hands of Mumtaz. “The mullahs were attacking the women. When I intervened, they assaulted me saying I stand with Hindus so I must be beaten up,” he said.
He added that he would not side with the madarsa just because they belong to the same religion as him. He said he would stand up for what is right and his neighbours.
This is Shabnam Ali aka Saroj, who told me it’s all about the madrassa encroaching public land (details in report)
Here she’s saying Mumtaz is popularising her as Hindu using her other name to make it a religious issue and get away with encroachment pic.twitter.com/onyIhDOZ83
— Swati Goel Sharma (@swati_gs) January 8, 2019
He adds that his wife Shabnam also reached the spot and got assaulted. Shabnam also claimed that their 13-year-old daughter also got injured. When she protested, stones were hurled towards her. She even accused the madarsa owner of trying to give the incident a communal colour when it is not so. She says that while her name is Shabnam, her family calls her Saroj and hence they (madarsa caretaker) wants to popularise her name as Saroj so that it appears like a Hindu name and the incident could get a communal tone.
Shabnam grew up in the colony and says that thirty years back, it was just a small mosque for a few Muslim families but over time it has been illegally expanded into a madarsa with 40 rooms.
Meanwhile, the madarsa has its own version. Mumtaz and his brother Izaz Ali, who both teach at the madarsa and take its care, claim that the quarrel was started by Liaqat and his wife, who first pelted stones at them. Mumtaz claims that he picked up the stick (but did not hit anyone with it) because they called them goons and terrorists. Mumtaz added that the group had gone to instigate and fight and not to enquire about the progress of the road.
Mumtaz adds that the mosque came at the dispute land before the Valmiki camp came up. He showed a kabristan (Muslim graveyard) and claimed that the whole land was a kabristan and they set up the shanties here and encroached upon the land.
Both the groups, however, claim that the dispute is now over. That the new route is now ready and they all hope that the matter is now resolved. But the land dispute appears far from over.
Zubair, another resident from the Valmiki colony has moved the High Court against usurping of the public land by madarsa by closing the passage. Mumtaz reportedly claims that it is Zubair who stoked the Hindu-Muslim tension in the neighbourhood who actually wanted to encroach upon the madarsa land.
Menawhile, from the above case, it is amply clear that the dispute was because of the land and not a ‘hate crime’. The crime was clearly not driven by the religious or caste identities of the victims. One wonders, why does IndiaSpend continue peddling the fake narrative? It is as if IndiaSpend is not even trying to hide its anti-Hindu bias anymore.
This is not the only time propaganda websites have shown their anti-Hindu bias in their supposed objective analysis. We had earlier reported how Hindustan Times had also launched a biased ‘hate tracker’ which had similar biased reporting and factual flaws. IndiaSpend’s ‘fact-checker’ website also launched a ‘tracker’ which tried to track ‘cow-related’ crimes‘. That data was also equally flawed and biased.
Abhishek Banerjee, a columnist with OpIndia, had written about how IndiaSpend have regularly indulged in peddling this narrative. They had earlier filed a report how 87 people had died in cow-related violence since 2010, of which 97% of the crimes happened after Modi came to power. The above ‘interactive fact-check’ map is an extension of the same report’. As can be seen even then that their ‘research’ was based on ‘Google search’ with particular keywords.
Is there more to it than what meets the eye? Readers should also remember that the founding trustee of Indiaspend, factchecker.in’s parent organization, is now the Data Analytics head of Congress party. Should we connect the dots?