The Print, run by the Editors Guild chief Shekhar Gupta has often been caught spreading fake news and motivated, malicious propaganda. After they got caught in yet another lie by Swarajya Magazine journalist Swati Goel Sharma, The Print decided to pull down its article quietly, then, it decided to issue an apology, then, it deleted the apology and tweeted an apology again.
In a strange attack, on the 1st of October, Shekhar Gupta run The Print published an opinion piece in which, it berated Swati Goel Sharma for overlooking the caste angle in the Hathras murder case. They further attacked her for “running a campaign” about Love Jihad on Twitter where she saw “Jihad” in “love”.
A lot of debate and political mudslinging has been happening around the Hathras case since the victim succumbed to her injuries in Delhi’s Safdarjung hospital on Tuesday morning. She was allegedly raped two weeks ago. The case attracted nationwide outrage when some reports claimed Hathras Police forcefully cremated the girl on Tuesday night without consent of the family members. The police had later stated that the victim’s father was present during the cremation.
Speaking to ANI, ADG Prashant Kumar had informed that the forensic reports that were awaited have also been received. ADG stated that the FSL report found no evidence of ‘rape’. He asserted that it was concluded that there was no sexual assault, and the cause of death was strangulation and injury to the spine.
The Print article was headlined, “You can’t talk of Hathras rape without listing other rapes – thanks to IT cell whataboutery”.
It went on to attack Sharma saying that while she could see “Jihad” in “love”, she could not see the “caste angle” after “4 upper caste men raped a Dalit woman”.
Here is what The Print wrote, based on the screenshots shared by the journalist on Twitter.
Swati Goel Sharma took to Twitter to call out the lies against her. She said, “Do your ill-informed writers have a habit of accusing people of denying caste and even being anti-dalit without checking their work? You did the same to Vashi Sharma of IIT-Kanpur and apologised for it when confronted. Your ill-read writer must provide proof of where I denied caste angle in Hathras or apologise, @ShekharGupta. Unless you approve of such hit-jobs yourself. I am not even going to other points yet”.
Your ill-read writer must provide proof of where I denied caste angle in Hathras or apologise, @ShekharGupta. Unless you approve of such hit-jobs yourself. I am not even going to other points yet.— Swati Goel Sharma (@swati_gs) October 1, 2020
Interestingly, The Print failed to do its basic fact-check before publishing this article, which seems to be a recurring theme by the portal. Swati Goel Sharma is a ground reporter who has done several cases about the rights of Dalits and the crimes against them. She even runs an NGO alongside Dalit activist Sanjeev Newar or Agniveer.
After Swati Goel Sharma called out the lies, The Print quietly pulled down their article. The screenshot of the article being pulled down was tweeted by Sharma.
Realising that the cat was out of the bag, The Print took to Twitter, quoting Swati Goel Sharma and apologising for their mistake.
However, just like their article, they pulled down this tweet as well.
After about 10 minutes or so, The Print posted the apology again, however, this time, they ensured they did not quote the thread by Swati Goel Sharma. They perhaps realised that in doing so, they were bringing attention to their own shenanigans which might make it difficult to claim moral victory later for showing the “courage” to pull down the article ridden with lies.
Thanks for your feedback @swati_gs. We have re-checked and find that the opinion piece with references to you indeed contained errors. It shouldn’t have got past our editorial filters. We have unpublished it, and apologise to you for it.— ThePrintIndia (@ThePrintIndia) October 1, 2020
The Print has a habit of peddling falsehoods in their articles, though one would expect a basic level of fact-checking by a portal that is run by the chief of the Editors Guild of India. However, that should come as no surprise since only in May, The Print had published an article that urged opposition parties to spread fake news to defeat PM Modi.