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15 people test Coronavirus positive after attending a prayer meeting held by a family in their own building, TOI gives it a ‘Hindu temple’ spin

Times of India uses the image of the Kapaleeshwarar Temple, confusing its readers by insinuating that the prayer meet was held in a temple, which automatically makes the perpetrators Hindus.

Amidst coronavirus pandemic, a family in Chennai’s Thiru Vi Ka Nagar zone held a prayer meet in the ground floor of their own building. Fifteen of them have been tested positive on April 26. The family members reside on different floors of a three-storey building and the prayer meeting was held on the ground floor recently.

According to Corporation officials, the source is suspected to be a couple among them who are sanitary workers.

“Investigations are still on as to whether people from outside the family were present at the meeting but so far, we have traced the family members,” said a Corporation official.

How Times of India uses a temple image to give incident a ‘Hindu spin’

However, Times of India has proceeded to give this incident a ‘Hindu spin’ by using the picture of the Kapaleeshwarar Temple, a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva located in Mylapore, Chennai, as its featured image.

While reporting how the coronavirus scourge has reached the heart of Chennai and how Chennai faces the threat of community transmission, Times of India in its report published on April 30, titled: “Covid battle enters heart of Chennai”, mentions this incident and a few other similar ones. However, going by the deliberation of Indian media to give every crime a ‘Hindu spin’, Times of India uses the image of the Kapaleeshwarar Temple, confusing its readers by insinuating that the prayer meeting was held in a temple.

TOI article dated April 30

Meanwhile, The New Indian Express had on April 26 reported about the same incident where it mentioned that the prayer meeting was held at the ground floor of the private building in which the family was living.

When Times of India uses an image of a temple in its article about a family being infected with Coronavirus in their own building while holding a prayer meet among family members, the insinuation for the reader, is, the automatic assumption that the said prayer meet was being held at a temple.

Times of India has indulged in similar chicanery in the past

There are several times in the past that the media has resorted to such chicanery. In July 2018, Times of India reported that in Maharashtra, a ‘godman’ forced his male devotees into ‘unnatural sex’. As per the report, one Asif Noori, a 38-year-old self-styled godman was arrested in Buldhana district in Maharashtra days after video and audio clips of allegedly forcing male devotees into unnatural sex went viral on social media.

As per reports, a preliminary police investigation has revealed that Noori took his victims to a room where he would allegedly drug them on the pretext of performing a ritual and force them to have unnatural sex with them.

However, The Times of India, while tweeted the same report, used a misleading image to report the crime. The image of a sketch of a sadhu was used for a crime where the accused is a Muslim insinuating that the crime was committed by a Hindu.

Incidentally, TOI had earlier too given misleading spins to many more such incidents. In fact, in 2018 Times of India was served a legal notice for hurting the sentiments of Hindus by portraying ‘Veda Pathshalas’ (pious institutions which impart Vedic knowledge) as Human Trafficking centres. In the report about child trafficking in Madrasa, Times of India had force-fitted ‘Veda Pathshala’ in the headline.

Times of India has been a repeat offender. Despite attracting furore on social media for its transgressions the Indian media house refuses to refrain.

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