Online news portal The News Minute has caught up with controversy after it did a blunder of misreporting facts by initially naming two rape accused as Hindus and later themselves revealing that the rape accused actually belonged to the Muslim community.
Reportedly, a horrific incident of child abuse and rape had surfaced from Karnataka’s Bantwal region where a 42-year-old man has been accused of repeatedly raping his minor daughter. The News Minute had reported that the minor girl was being raped by her father Dinesh earlier for over a year and also by her uncle named Pradeep.
The TNM report didn’t include the real name of the accused persons, and it had used representative names. But by using the names Pradeep and Dinesh, it gave an impression that the perpetrators are Hindu.
But soon the incident was reported by other media organisations, and it was revealed that the father of the girl is named Dawood. Reportedly, Dawood has four wives, and while his first wife has left him, rest three wives are staying at different places. The victim is the daughter of his second wife.
After this, TNM realised that they will be caught propagating fake news and has now edited out its earlier report to change the names of the rape accused father as Ali and uncle of the minor girl has Abdul, using representative names which reflect the correct religion of the persons.
The horrific incident came to light during the investigation into the rape of the 17-year-old girl by her uncle, when it was revealed that she had been raped by her father also. The mother of the minor girl had lodged the complaint after the 17-year-old had been repeatedly raped by her brother-in-law. The brother-in-law was soon arrested by the Ullal police the next day after he had raped the minor girl.
Shockingly, the girl’s uncle revealed to the police that the father of the minor girl has been raping his daughter for the past year. The victim and her mother had travelled to Ullal from Bantwal to visit the uncle’s mother, who was ill and had been hospitalised in Ullal. Later that night, the uncle had allegedly raped the minor girl and threatened her with dire consequences if she spoke about it, reported the News Minute.
The News Minute had reported the entire incident but only to be swapping the names of the rape accused with imaginary Hindu names of Pradeep and Dinesh. The News Minute seems to have used a few imaginary Hindu names to boost its secular credentials.
Update: The News Minute Editor-in-Chief Dhanya Rajendran has now offered a clarification. She has said that a representational name was used because outing the father’s name could out the victim’s name. She has also said that using Hindu representational name for a Muslim perpetrator was incorrect and an unintended mistake by her editor. However, it is still unclear how using the perpetrator’s first name would out the victim’s identity. It is also unclear how “Dawood” or “Abdul” was changed to “Pradeep” as a mistake.