Indian Express published a fake report today claiming that that the Delhi police suspects that the video where the Markaz Nizamuddin head Maulana Saad Kandhalvi of the Tablighi Jamaat was heard asking Muslims not to follow social distancing norms amidst the Coronavirus pandemic may be ‘doctored’.
Though Delhi police were quick to debunk the fake news, the Indian Express article was enough to get the ball rolling for the usual ‘liberals’ and ‘journalists’ on social media, who with haste took to Twitter to share the news to shield the Tablighi Jamaat and Maulana Saad.
Many including AltNews co-founder, Mohammad Zubair, who has on various previous occasions, notoriously peddled fake and misleading news took to Tweeter in a haste and shared the fake news published by Indian Express. Mohammad Zubair wrote: “Tablighi FIR: Police probe indicates Saad audio clip was doctored”.
In a subsequent Tweet, Zubair wrote that initial investigations revealed that the audio clip may be doctored and stitched together using a lot of audio clips.
After backlash, Zubair promptly deleted his tweet, however, did not apologise for promoting fake news in his attempt to shield the Tablighi Jamaats and Maulana Saad. Interestingly, AltNews claims itself to be a fact-checking website and its writers regularly shield Islamists keeping ‘fact-checking’ as their shield.
However, Mohammad Zubair is not the only one who had clung on to this opportunity to build up a fake narrative. Ankur Singh tweeted a screenshot that showed several others peddling the same narrative. Controversial Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani also shared the fake news by Indian express to claim: “The fake factory is the fountain of hatred. After going through 350 audio clips, Delhi Police claim the alleged Tablighi Jamaat speech asking followers not to follow social distancing norms may be doctored and stitched”.
‘Journalist’ Nikhil Wagle, known for his casteist fangs, and who had once shown his endearment for dreaded terrorist Hafiz Saeed was also quick to share the Indian Express news to show his fondness for the Tablighis and Maulana Saad.
‘Journalist’ Vinod Kapri shared the same news by Indian Express and claimed that sharing fake audio and video on TV has become a common phenomenon nowadays. Calling those who had shared the ‘doctored’ audio, country’s enemies, Kapri demanded strict investigating against them.
Next to follow suit was The Wire’s, Rohini Singh. Singh, who is notoriously known for her propaganda, took to Twitter to write: “Police find the audio clip cited for blaming Tableeghis for being irresponsible was doctored. Now, who would have gone to such lengths to doctor audio to demonise an entire community?”
Swati Chaturvedi, abusive troll masquerading as a journalist, who has umpteen number of times been caught red-handed after propagating fake news, was also quick to use this opportunity to build up a fake narrative yet again. Sharing the Indian Express fake news, Swati insinuated that it is actually BJP IT cell head Amit Malviya who might have “doctored” the audio.
Interestingly she made this insinuation even though the Indian Express repoer wrote that it might have been “doctored” by a Tablighi Jamaat member.
Swati Chturvedi did not stop at this, in one of her subsequent Tweets she goes on to cast doubts on Delhi police also.
Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan, also shared the Indian Express news to make similar assertions. He said that all the media houses which played by “doctored” clip, especially those who played up “corona Jihad” should be prosecuted for spreading communal hatred and fake news.
Despite the harsh fact that the Tablighi Jamaatis was the sole reason for the spike in Coronavirus cases in India, like many others who have peddled the narrative that the right-wing media has given a communal colour to the fiasco, Prashant Bhushan too wrote that the media which played up ‘corona Jihad’ should be prosecuted.
Delhi Police trashes story claiming Maulana Saad video ‘doctored’
The Delhi Police has issued a statement on Twitter calling the report in the Indian Express imaginary and fake news. The Delhi Police said that it does not stand by the story and the reporter, Mahender Manral has essentially imagined the details of the investigation.
The Delhi Police said, “The Indian Express report dated 9.5.20 with an article captioned: Tablighi FIR: Police probe indicates Saad audio clip was doctored – Written by Mahender Manral, is not only factually incorrect but seems to be based on wholly unverified sources and purely conjectural imagination”.
Further, the Delhi Police tweeted “He (Reporter Mahendra Manral) claims made by the reporter regarding the investigation are totally baseless. The Delhi Police does not in any way stand by the story of the reporter, nor has he spoken to any official sources claimed in his report”.
OpIndia had fact-checked the Indian Express report
The statement published by Delhi Police only vindicates the fact-check done by OpIndia earlier in the day.
We had said that firstly, most videos on any platform are often edited from the raw data to ensure that the final product is ready for viewership. We had also said that since the video was uploaded on the official Delhi Markaz page and it was a stretch of imagination to claim that the Tablighi Jamaat member himself edited the video maliciously to implicate Maulana Saad and the Delhi Markaz page allowed the video to be published. Further, we had also speculated that it does not add up for Maulana Saad to abscond if the video was, in fact, maliciously edited.
Fake news published by Indian Express
A report published in the Indian Express today claimed that the Delhi police suspects that the video where the Markaz Nizamuddin head Maulana Saad Kandhalvi of the Tablighi Jamaat was heard asking Muslims not to follow social distancing norms amidst the Coronavirus pandemic may be ‘doctored’. However, the claims cited in the report did not add up and OpIndia had done an extensive fact-check writing how the story is probably fake, in order to shield the Tablighi Jamaat and Maulana Saad.