A fresh round of protests against the amended Citizenship Act gripped various parts of India on Thursday. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, in a strong warning to the anti-CAA rioters, has said that the authorities would seize the properties of those who indulge in violence in the state. However, as the media has been trying to whitewash the anti-CAA rioters, PTI chose to twist Yogi Adityanath’s stern warning to the miscreants.
Press Trust of India (PTI) which is a news agency tweeted that Yogi Adityanath had “vowed to take ‘revenge’ against those involved in the violence over the amended Citizenship Act by auctioning their property to compensate for the losses”.
UP CM Yogi Adityanath vows to take “revenge” on those involved in the violence over the amended Citizenship Act by auctioning their property to compensate for the losses
— Press Trust of India (@PTI_News) December 19, 2019
This fallacious interpretation of what Yogi Adityanath said was then picked up by several media houses including NDTV.
With the ample quotations marks that adorned the words ‘Revenge’ and ‘Auction’, the misinterpretation of what Yogi Adityanath said changed the meaning of his words completely. With this headline, it almost seemed like Yogi Adityanath was on a crusade to extract a pound of flesh from those who were opposing the Citizenship Amendment Act by the Modi government.
In fact, Times Now too ran the same version with the word “revenge” casually strewn on their screen.
However, this is not what Yogi Adityanath had said. Here is the video.
नागरिकता कानून के मुद्दे पर गुमराह करके लोगों को हिंसा के लिए प्रेरित करना देशद्रोही कृत्य है।
उपद्रवियों को चिन्हित कर लिया गया है। उपद्रवियों ने पब्लिक प्रॉपर्टी को जो भी नुकसान पहुँचाया है, हम उसकी वसूली उन उपद्रवियों की संपत्ति नीलाम करके करेंगें। pic.twitter.com/vSHlX7Id7E
— Yogi Adityanath (@myogiadityanath) December 19, 2019
While in the latter part of his statement, Yogi Adityanath does use the word ‘badla’, the context of the usage has been completely distorted by the media.
Yogi Adityanath had said that these elements had caused damage to public property and after identifying the guilty party, their properties would be auctioned to ‘compensate’ (bharpayee) for the loss to public property. He had further said that the miscreants have all been captured on CCTV and videos and the government would seize their property and take ‘badla’ for the loss to public property.
In this context, the word ‘badla’ would not mean ‘revenge’ but merely ‘compensation’. The word ‘revenge’ has a different connotation completely and the meaning is lost in translation, whether deliberately or otherwise.
When statements are made in Hindi, English language media often misinterprets certain word and translate them literally, losing the meaning of the statement completely.
The most concerning part is that despite several people pointing out the mistranslation, PTI, Times Now and other media networks have simply refused to rectify or change their headlines accordingly. Whether that is to be attributed to sheer ignorance, nonchalance or malice is anyone’s guess.