The election season is upon us and with it, the lies and propaganda that ‘journalists’ spread from behind the veil of neutrality also seem to be peaking. Columnist of the leftist portal Newslaundry was found spreading fake news and demanding that BJP be banned from contesting in the 2019 elections on the basis of that fake news, that has already been debunked.
UP Police openly distributed food packets with NaMo and BJP written on them to voters in Noida.
Had this happened in any other sane part of the world, the political party involved would’ve been banned from the election, but of course in India.. pic.twitter.com/aFk2coCJGb
— Jas Oberoi | ਜੱਸ ਓਬਰੌਏ (@iJasOberoi) April 11, 2019
Jas Oberoi, a columnist with Newslaundry tweeted that Uttar Pradesh police was openly distributing food packets with NaMo and BJP written on them in Noida. He followed that with the assertion that had this happened in any other sane part of the world, the political party involved would have been banned from the election. But that would not happen in India.
Motivated propagandists like Jas Oberoi have never been too keen on checking their facts before making wild allegations and that is exactly what happened here. Incidentally, hours before Oberoi tweeted, this lie had already been debunked summarily.
While the first phase of polling was on its way, at about 10:45 AM on 11th April a journalist associated with Times Now tweeted that ‘NaMo’ (instead of Namo) food packets are at play in Noida, implying that the food was ‘branded’ on the name of Prime Minister Narendra Modi who is often referred to as NaMo. He claimed that he himself had not clicked the picture, but his friend had clicked and sent it to him. This lie was picked up by several Congress politicians, journalists and even “Fact-checkers” associated with international news agencies like AFP.
As it turned out, Namo Food (which was mischievously written as ‘NaMo Food’ by propagandists) has nothing to do with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and is an actual restaurant based in Noida. In fact, Namo Foods has not one but 4 food outlets in Noida as per the food search website ‘Zomato’. Senior Superintendent of Police, Gautam Buddh Nagar also took to Twitter to clarify that the food packets were procured at the local level for the police officers on election duty.
The clarification had already come in by 12:12 PM on 11th April 2019. However, the columnist with the NewsLaundry decided to further peddle this on 11th evening even after the issue had been put to rest.
Incidentally, this is not the first time that Jas Oberoi who works with Newslaundry had peddled lies and bigotry on Social Media. Earlier, Jas Oberoi had asked a Sikh man to give up Sikhism when he had challenged Mamata Banerjee to stop Durga visarjan during Durga Puja. Tajinder Bagga’s support for a Hindu festival had offended the NewsLaundry columnist so much that he deemed Bagga unfit to be called a Sikh. In 2017, he had displayed his bigotry in all its glory, by trying to pass off a 2016 video of Prime Minister Narendra Modi meeting Sayed Fakhar Kazmi Chisty of Ajmer Sharif, as a new video. Not only that, he had said this was Modi’s attempt to appease the Muslim minority in Gujarat which was about to go to polls at that time.
Jas Oberoi had also lied blatantly when he had asserted that the press conference held by Judge Loya’s son to implore journalists and activists to leave his family alone, was organised by Amit Shah, the President of BJP. In fact, when the abusive Newslaundry columnist, whose propaganda was re-tweeted by AAP chief and Delhi’s Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, was presented with facts, he showed his arrogance by refusing to accept correction. In reality, the son of Judge Loya had thanked his lawyer Ameet for the support, and propagandists like Oberoi had twisted that to insinuate that it was Amit Shah who had organised the press conference.