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Pro-AAP blogger Dhruv Rathee analyses the Delhi riots, spreads misinformation and leaves out vital details: Here is how

Dhruv Rathee’s analysis of the Delhi riots is a prime example of misinformation with the aim of spreading a political agenda to paint a false narrative.

Freelance ‘journalist’ and Pro-AAP blogger Dhruv Rathee recently published an analysis of the Delhi Riots which was published on March 3 2020 on YouTube. However, Rathee uses sources that have been publicly called out for false reporting and he himself leaves out some integral facts about the riots in his analysis. 

Here are the inaccuracies and what is missing from Dhruv Rathee’s analysis on the Delhi Riots. 

MEDIA

Dhruv starts out his video by speaking about Kapil Mishra’s aggression and violence in the Delhi riots. For this, let’s look at the available images and video footage available where we can very objectively observe who is inciting violence very easily. At no point does Kapil Mishra have a firearm or weapon in his hand. This in comparison to protestor Mohammad Shahrukh, who Dhruv Rathee mentions in his analysis. Video footage released on Feb 24 and 25, 2020 shows protestor Mohammad Shahrukh not only threatening a police officer but also firing blindly- risking innocent lives of anyone and everyone there. Dhruv Rathee conveniently fails to mention this. 

Moreover, claims of Kapil Mishra’s speech being labelled as a ‘hate speech’ does not hold weight amongst judges themselves. Four judges who have served in various high courts of India were asked point-blank, “Is Kapil Mishra’s speech a hate speech?” 

All said a definitive no. 

Furthermore, the media sources Dhruv Rathee has used in his examples have been publicly called out for being selective and unsubstantiated. Mainstream publications including NDTV, the Wire, BBC, the Wall Street Journal and the IE have all unethically distorted, outright lied, presented fake news, and even have gone so far as to crop images to misinform millions of readers across the world on the Delhi Riots.

Specific examples? 

In an article on Delhi violence, The Wall Street Journal completely made up a quote from Ankur Sharma- brother of intelligence officer Ankit Sharma who died during the attacks. Ankit’s brother Ankur publicly came out with a statement that this was a lie. WSJ quoted Ankur as saying that attackers of Ankit were chanting Jai Shri Ram, implying that they were Hindus.

After this WSJ article was published, Ankur came out in public and said that he did not give any such statement to the WSJ. Ankur said and I quote, “I never gave such a statement to Wall Street Journal. This is a ploy to defame my brother and my family. The Wall Street Journal is lying.” 

The Indian Express cropped a photo of a skullcap to make the photo look secular. These are just a few examples of selective journalism and misinformation. 

Publications like the BBC, the Quint and the Wire and other mainstream left wing media are only publishing selective information- they are not giving readers the full story. 

POLICE 

The next thing Dhruv Rathee speaks about is the inaction of the Delhi Police. He tries to say that the police have incited the violence. But that is far from reality.  

Delhi police very actively tried to control the sudden violence that took place. And similar to other countries in emergency situations when mobs get out of control- tear gas firing and lathi charges were used- everything except firing live rounds was used- in an attempt to control the unruly mobs by the Delhi Police.

To add to that, it was every rank of officer that was involved in trying to control the riots. In fact, DCP Amit Sharma was in critical condition because he was attacked and severely injured while on duty trying to rest order on February 24, 2020. 

Officers also lost their lives in the line of duty. Head Constable Ratan Lal was lynched by a mob and died of bullet injuries. To add to this, several other policemen have been seriously injured and have or are still undergoing treatment at the Guru Tegh Bahadur Hospital located in Shahdara.

Assault to a police officer in any other country is taken very seriously and carries stern punishment. For example, the assault of a police officer in the USA is considered a serious crime and comes along with many years in prison, if not a life sentence. Yet, in these riots, news agencies have put out videos on Feb 24 and 25, 2020 that shows protestors like Mohammad Shahrukh not only threatening a police officer, but also firing a weapon blindly, risking innocent lives of anyone and everyone there! 

Media reports are making it out to be that police are doing nothing when in fact, police are taking measures at the risk of their own lives to bring safety and order back to the city.  

SELECTIVE REPORTING & PARTIAL TRUTH

The 46+ dead, 250+ injured and the Rs 25,000cr rupee loss so far that Dhruv talks about in his analysis have occurred during the Delhi riots only because of the spread of fake news and misinformation. 

It is, in fact, ironic that Dhruv Rathee speaks about the chaos when the very media sources he uses in his analysis have not only been called out for selective reporting but have also misreported on casualties and deaths as well. 

Here are some of the things that mainstream media have completely missed in terms of casualties. 

The Wire: A ‘ground report’ should include all information. The WIRE’s ground report on the Rajdhani school and the DRP school – did not even make a single mention of the fact that a man named Dinesh Kumar lost his life in the chaos. 

NDTV: When two schools got vandalized- NDTV did not make mention of three key things.

1. The Rajdhani school’s rooftop had supplies including sacks of bricks, pelting stones and even made-in-India weapons. Have a look at the images that reporters took of the rooftop of the Rajdhani school after the chaos. 

 2. The second thing NDTV did not report was that owner of DRP School Pankaj Sharma had held up a bomb on camera during an interview that was hurled at DRP School during the attacks. In an interview to Republic TV, he said, and I quote, “Since 2014, we had 100% passing rate and had a great strength of students from both communities [Hindus and Muslims] studying here. We loved everyone. We had built every corner of this school with love. People have looted the school first and then burnt it. This was done on purpose.” 

 3. NDTV also failed to mention the death of Dinesh Kumar. If you are reporting and publishing information on attacks, isn’t it common sense that you would include casualties in the reporting? Why would you suppress objective facts or not include them? Dinesh’s death was completely missing from NDTV’s report AND the WIRE’s ground report. 

Lets look at some other things that mainstream media did not present as mainstream: 

JK 24-7 Journalist Akash Napa was covering the violence of Maujpur when a group of men shot him in the back on Feb 26, 2020. Akash clearly said that he was shot by anti CAA protestors on the channel but somehow this was conveniently left out of the reports by mainstream media. 

To add to that a journalist from Kerela was jeered and hassled aggressively by protestors and was only let go when he revealed his Muslim identity. 

Why was this left out of mainstream media’s narrative? Dhruv does not even address this in his analysis. 

On ethical grounds, every death should have been reported by the media out of sheer respect and principle regardless of whether it is a Hindu or Muslim death. However, celebrities and influencers are openly speaking anti-government and GoI supporting an anti-Muslim agenda. 

In reality, deaths that should have been reported were left out completely. Here’s an example. On Feb 24, Vinod Kumar died in the middle of a road. He was killed by a lynch mob and was left to die on the street. The video footage even shows a protester slapping his face multiple times to see if he was still alive. 

Vinod’s crime? Having a ‘Jai Shri Ram’ sticker on his scooter. Why wasn’t this reported in mainstream media? Was Vinod’s death not important enough? 

IMPACT

Dhruv Rathee, mainstream media and influencers should be ashamed of themselves for spreading misinformation and for selective and unsubstantiated reporting. Rathee’s 12 minute analysis is mis-reporting at best and aims to spread a fake narrative by leaving out the whole story. The media sources he is using in his analysis have all been called out for spreading selective information as well. 

Rathee puts out a video and people watch. He gets views, likes and a nice pay sum from YouTube. But it becomes a problem if you start believing him as the whole truth. It is integral to deep dive into statements made and the evidence used before formulating your opinion. 

Rathee’s analysis is a prime example of misinformation with the aim of spreading a political agenda to paint a false narrative. It has gotten out of hand though. The death toll of Indian citizens for the Delhi riots in over 50 and hundreds have been injured

Out of respect for ALL the people who have LOST their lives in the Delhi violence; regardless of whether it is a Hindu death or a Muslim death; I ask you to please research on your own and speak out for the truth. This is not just for Dhruv Rathee’s analysis but for any content that you can consume. Do not buy into fake narratives that aim to spread lies, fear, division and hate.

As for Dhruv Rathee- he is not misinformed. On the contrary, it is his business to misinform.

Note: All video footages and images referred to in this article can be seen on the embedded video

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Priyanka Deo
Priyanka Deo is currently an executive producer and anchor at New India Junction. She holds masters’ degrees from Harvard, the London School of Economics and Political Science and the University of Southern California.

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