As everyone was enjoying a relaxed afternoon after stuffing their mouths with the favourite festival food on Dussehra, a little battle was brewing on Twitter between abusive troll masquerading as a journalist Swati Chaturvedi and conspiracy theorist masquerading as a journalist Rana Ayyub.
It all started when Chaturvedi decided that she is being snooped upon by the home ministry. That she thinks her conspiracy theories based on the voices in her head would lead to ‘snooping’ is a different ballgame altogether. Earlier in the day she tweeted to Home Minister Amit Shah to asking him to stop NSA Ajit Doval from spying on her.
She claimed that Ajit Doval sent spies at her place under the guise of Airtel service providers. And then, out of the blue she invoked one ‘fraud’ who is a ‘Washington Post plagiariser’ in her tweets.
Dear @AmitShah I concede you are excellent at snooping but, do tell Ajit Doval that having guards, poorly paid service providers such as @airtelindia staff moonlighting for you is stupid. Typical of Ajit’s Dawood fantasist nonsense. I have nothing to hide 1/2— Swati Chaturvedi (@bainjal) October 25, 2020
To clear everyone’s doubts on who this ‘fraud’ is, Swati next named and shamed the alleged ‘Washington Post plagiariser’.
We are in 21 century India unlike your paid WaPo shill (Sanjiv Bhatt exposes her reality) I am not going anywhere so do @AmitShah try & poor incompetent Doval’s worst. Nothing to hide. @PMOIndia everybody is not a fraud like WaPo plagiariser— Swati Chaturvedi (@bainjal) October 25, 2020
Shockingly, she referred to Rana Ayyub as ‘PMO India stooge’ in Washington Post.
So as Ms Ayyub has blocked me. TL do tell her we live in the 21st century. Frightening for an alleged journalist writing for @washingtonpost to get even centuries wrong. Do stop the plagiarism & being @PMOIndia stooge in the foreign press— Swati Chaturvedi (@bainjal) October 25, 2020
In fact, shocking would be a mild term considering Rana Ayyub has not really made her dislike (to put it mildly and legally safe) for PM Modi and HM Amit Shah any secret. While we are still trying to figure out what triggered this meltdown from Swati, we are not quite complaining.
Children, gather around as we bring to you what has made this otherwise sleepy afternoon quite entertaining. Grab your popcorn.
A furious Swati invoked disgraced former cop Sanjiv Bhatt to talk about how Rana Ayyub’s alleged journalism was nothing but quite likely politically motivated (that’s what even the Supreme Court of India said).
Sanjiv Bhatt who is currently in jail had the full low down on Ms Ayyub’s alleged journalism post the 2002 Gujarat riots. Soma & Tejpal refused to print Ms Ayyub’s lies (conspicuously silent on Modi in @Tehelka) The SC called it “yellow journalism” well done @washingtonpost— Swati Chaturvedi (@bainjal) October 25, 2020
She then claims that how even Tejpal, Tehalka’s Editor who is currently in jail on sexual harassment charges, did not print Rana Ayyub’s fantasies which she claims was ‘investigative journalism’. To reinforce her point that Rana is PMO India stooge, she casts aspersions that Rana’s fantasy, “Gujarat Files” was ‘silent’ on PM Modi.
Now there are a few factual errors here also because Rana’s book was not really on 2002 riots but on Sohrabuddin Shaikh encounter. Of course, Rana mentions the Gujarat riots but does not specify that the then Gujarat Home Minister Amit Shah whom she was targeting for riots, was not the Home Minister of state when the Godhra carnage and following riots took place. It was actually Gordhan Zadaphia. Though it is a different thing that her ‘sting investigation’ in Sohrabuddin encounter was more about 2002 riots. No wonder the Supreme Court trashed it.
Swati then claimed that Washington Post, with a history of anti-India articles, is nicely placed with anti-Modi Rana who is a Modi stooge. (Not kidding, Swati really does made this fantastical claims.)
She then said how this also works because people like Hartosh Singh Bal keep attacking her. Calling him ‘misogynistic person’, Swati questioned him whether he has done even single exclusive reportage.
Training her guns back at Rana Ayyub, Swati Chaturvedi revealed that Gulf News had taken up plagiarism issue with Washington Post for Rana’s articles.
As @mehermurshed will testify @gulf_news has taken up Ayyub plagiarism with @washingtonpost at an institutional level. But, she and Bal & Peer are living it up while ordinary Muslims suffer. Find one Rana alleged story exposing @PMOIndia Noora Khushi— Swati Chaturvedi (@bainjal) October 25, 2020
She then adds how Tehelka was Rana Ayyub’s only job before Washington Post gave her any credence.
She even revealed that the sexual harassment accused Tarun Tejpal had also referred to Rana Ayyub as ‘fraud and lazy reporter’. Swati was then questioned by lawyer-activists for invoking Tejpal, who himself is accused of sexual harassment.
Swati here argued that even Shoma Choudhury of Tehelka did not find Ayyub’s up to editorial standards (??) of Tehelka.
You're now citing Tarun Tejpal who apologised for a rape and then denied he committed it, is now on trial?— Karuna Nundy (@karunanundy) October 25, 2020
Suddenly Prophet Tejpal was no longer reliable.
Not at all, I seek objectivity too so the goals are the same, we differ in what we consider reliable evidence and heuristics.— Karuna Nundy (@karunanundy) October 25, 2020
Swati then shared an old Facebook post by disgraced cop Sanjiv Bhatt where he had insinuated, without really naming Rana Ayyub, that she had “amorous” relationship with one IPS officer investigating the encounter cases and with an activist-lawyer who was fighting the 2002 riots victims’ case.
In comments section, some had asked him who was the lawyer-activist he was talking about. Bhatt had claimed it was someone who suffered from cancer and had passed away.
Bhatt’s post made many people wonder who was the lawyer-activist being talked about.
Back then netizens had speculated whether the lawyer-activist in question was Mukul Sinha. He had died of cancer a couple of years back.
For the uninitiated, Mukul Sinha’s son, Pratik Sinha is co-founder of AltNews. As of now, Sinha has has never fact-checked Sanjiv Bhatt’s these claims about the 2002 riots.
Soon support started pouring in for Rana Ayyub too.
Swati was accused of being a ‘jealous hater’.
Jealous haters gonna hate, ignore them.— Dushyant (@atti_cus) October 25, 2020
‘Journalist’ who himself passes off pictures of Syria as that of Kashmir, too came out in support of Rana Ayyub.
Funny that Tarun Tejpal and Justice Arun Mishra’s observations are being cited to attack an internationally acclaimed journalist like @RanaAyyub. What next, a quote from Charles Sobhraj?— Aditya Menon (@AdityaMenon22) October 25, 2020
Meanwhile, support is also pouring in for Swati, including that from dubious accounts.
Ah well https://t.co/TefwJ1WwWi— Swati Chaturvedi (@bainjal) October 25, 2020
Didn’t know this. Comes as a shock. Find it deeply disturbing. https://t.co/hqf8f30G41— SonaliRanade (@sonaliranade) October 25, 2020
As for us, we’ve had a great time.
You can read about the last time Swati Chaturvedi and Rana Ayyub fought here.