The brutal murder of two-and-a-half-year-old Tina Sharma (name changed) in Aligarh has shaken the collective conscience of the nation. However, over a week after the murder, mainstream media continues to whitewash the crime and downplay the brutalities the perpetrators carried out on the child.
In a report titled ‘How crime is getting a communal spin’, the Times of India today claimed that the ‘police investigation has confirmed neither rape not (sic) torture’. This statement is inaccurate on multiple levels. Police statement has claimed that the rape cannot be confirmed. That means, the child may or may not have been raped. The case is currently being probed under the Protection of Children against Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. That means, rape cannot be conclusively ruled out yet. Moreover, the post-mortem report has been sent further to doctors. Only a swab analysis could reveal whether she was raped or not. Hence, this statement is false.
Moving on to the second part where Times of India claims that the police investigation has confirmed the child was not tortured is also an utter lie. The post mortem report has revealed that her right arm was amputated.
OpIndia showed the post-mortem report to a couple of doctors and they said that the baby died due to injuries caused to her. “The injuries were severe enough to lead to shock and eventually death. Shock is confirmed by the collapse of vessels (antemortem sign). Major blood loss happened before death,” a doctor confirmed that there were brutalities on the child.
“The most important of all is that her abdominal organs are missing, including uterus and genital organs. She might have been subjected to extreme torture and this can also be the cause of excessive blood loss and collapse of the blood vessels. Other injuries include fracture of leg below knee and amputation of humerus (arm). These injuries point towards brutality. Vaginal swabs have been taken for examination but due to decomposition they are less likely to be useful. It should be made clear that negative results on swab does not rule out sexual act.”
According to the Times of India, amputated arm, fractured leg, excessive blood loss leading to collapse of blood vessels, missing abdominal organs including the uterus and genital organs, is not ‘brutal’ enough.
The Times of India report then says that the report was given a communal angle by those who demanded justice for the child, like those in the Kathua case and says how the perpetrator should not be judged on the basis of religion. Very conveniently forgetting that in Kathua case, it was the same so-called liberals who brought the communal angle by focusing on where the child was raped (Devisthan, or temple) instead of focusing on the crime itself (rape and murder).
The report then states the dubious propaganda outfit, ‘Hate Crime Watch’, a multi-organisation effort headed by FactChecker.in of IndiaSpend, in collaboration with Aman Biradari and NewsClick.in. Readers should also remember that the founding trustee of Indiaspend, factchecker.in’s parent organization, is now the Data Analytics head of Congress party and has reportedly fled after charging Congress Rs 24 crore for his flawed data analysis in recently concluded general elections.
It is pertinent to mention that the creators of the propaganda themselves admit that they do not aspire to be an exhaustive record of all hate crimes in the country. Such an admission allows them the opportunity to cherry-pick data to peddle their narrative.
They ignore cases where Hindus are victims, they label crimes where Muslims are victims as ‘hate crime’ even though there is nothing to suggest that the crime is motivated by religion and they attempt to create a narrative that portrays Hindus as aggressors and Muslims as victims.
To give readers an idea about the manner in which factchecker.in manipulates data, when Vidharam Katheria, a Dalit, was murdered by a group of Muslims over a family dispute, IndiaSpend did not consider a hate crime claiming that there was no evidence to suggest that the crime was motivated by religious hatred. But when one Azhar Khan was murdered for fishing near a Temple, it was treated as a religious hate crime although there was nothing to suggest that the crime was motivated by religion. This is merely a single instance. There have been several occasions where factchecker.in has indulged in such malpractice. You could read more about data manipulation by ‘Hate Crime Watch’ here, here, here and here.
We have also comprehensively exposed the manner in which factchecker.in concocts an agenda in an earlier report. The HCW is a concerted effort to manufacture what can only be described as sophisticated Fake News.
Moreover, there have been multiple reports on Aligarh case where they have given clean chit to the perpetrators claiming that the child was not raped. We have shown how self-proclaimed fact-checkers had based an entire fact-check on police statement which were later found contradictory to the post-mortem report. Despite that, the ‘fact-checkers’ stuck to their report and claimed that the child was not brutalised (something which even this TOI report claims). Since AltNews’ attempts to whitewash the crimes and downplay the brutality has failed, elements in mainstream media has taken it upon themselves to push the narrative.
Times of India’s reliance on dubious data and blatantly lying in its reportage on Aligarh murder case in this report displays shoddy and biased journalism.