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After OpIndia fact-check, IndiaTimes changes headline where it had turned road rage into an anti-Muslim hate crime

As it turns out, Shweta Sengar is a habitually shameless journalist. Earlier, she had lied about Sadhvi Pragya in the same publication, IndiaTimes.

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Nupur J Sharma
Editor, OpIndia.com since October 2017

In an unfortunate incident of road rage, one Dr Narul in Gurugram was beaten up by a mob when he went to buy milk for Iftar. However, IndiaTimes.com, a Times Group website, decided to twist its own report and give it a communal angle and declare the road rage as a hate crime.

Dr Narul had come to Ardee City at around 8 pm to buy milk. At that time, two men from a different car jumped out and started beating Narul up. When Dr Narul told them that they were coming from the wrong side of the road, the two men called up some other friends of theirs who then proceeded to beat the doctor up further. Later, according to Dr Narul, they left him after they found out he was Muslim as the attackers said beating him up might lead to communal riots.

This story was twisted mercilessly by IndiaTimes, which is a flagship product of the Times Group.

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The journalist, Shweta Sengar, twisted Dr Narul’s statement. Her story carried a headline which read that the mob thrashed Dr Narul while shouting “Muslims should leave”, while in fact, they fled the scene when they realised the person they were beating up was a Muslim.

After OpIndia.com’s report on the shameless twisting of the incident by IndiaTimes and its journalist Shweta Sengar, IndiaTimes seems to have amended its headline and the story to give a more accurate representation of the incident.

IndiaTimes changed headline after OpIndia report

The IndiaTimes headline now reads, “Doctor Goes To Buy Milk For Iftar In Gurugram, Mob Thrashes And Leaves Him On Roadside Fearing Riots’.

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Interestingly, the earlier version of the article that peddled the blatant lie about the assailants saying that “Muslims should leave” had listed journalist Shweta Senger as the author of the article.

IndiaTimes headline with communal angle

The latest version as reverted the article to ‘IndiaTimes’ basically turning it into a staff report and removing the journalist’s byline.

The journalist who originally wrote the twisted report, Shweta Sengar, though continued to brazen it out on Twitter. She responded saying that the screenshot being circulated (the previous one with the communal lie) was an “editorial slip”.

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She goes on to say that if the screenshot is circulated further, it would result only in unwarranted hate.

One certainly wonders how giving a whole different angle to a story can be an editorial slip. For example, if I meant to critique the incompetence of Shweta Senger and instead, start talking about how bad her hairstyle is, would that qualify as an editorial slip?

As it turns out, Shweta Sengar is a habitually shameless journalist. Earlier, she had lied about Sadhvi Pragya in the same publication, IndiaTimes.

Shweta Sengar wrote an entire report about how the “Internet claimed” that Sadhvi was 4 years old when the Babri demolition happened and thus, her claim that she partook in the demolition is incorrect.

Now, OpIndia can’t possibly compete with the entire World Wide Web whispering in Shweta’s ears, however, it was soon revealed that Sadhvi was actually born in 1972 according to her bail application in 2016.

This fake news has still not been amended or deleted even as Shweta brazens it out and refuses to apologise about her latest blatant lie.

India Times, being the flagship publication of the Times Group surely needs to apply better editorial standards. One recalls how FirstPost had fired a journalist for inventing an interview to claim that there were women raped during the Jat agitations. In fact, in the profession where mainstream media almost encourages mediocrity, it was rather remarkable that FirstPost would proceed to fire the journalist, Tarique Anwar who concocted Murthal gang rape.

Interestingly, IndiaTimes had hired Tarique Ahmed right after he was fired from FirstPost for concocting an interview in an attempt to prove the Murthal rapes during Jat agitation.

Now, Tarique works for a portal where Abhisar Sharma too peddles his agenda with blatant lies and misrepresentation.

While IndiaTimes surely needs to apply better standards while hiring journalists as their hiring process has inflicted two bad journalists on the world, Tarique Ahmed and Shweta Sengar, it is also evident that mediocrity and bad journalism doesn’t really have a considerable effect on the lives and professions of bad journalists as long as they are willing to spin lies and concoct stories to suit a particular narrative.

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Nupur J Sharma
Editor, OpIndia.com since October 2017

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