The Kumbh Mela has become a matter of concern for several people who had defended the Tablighi Jamaat when they had deliberately spread the virus by hiding in mosques, spit in places, pelted stones at police personnel and even defecated in hospitals. Almost determined to undermine Hindus and obfuscate facts, the propaganda has been at its highest. In the midst of this, Siddharth Varadarajan has resorted to spreading fake news again. In fact, the same fake news that the Logical Indians had apologised for just a day ago.
Siddharth Varadarajan took to Twitter to tweet The Wire article, with a comment why “godi media warriors” were not “demanding he be arrested under the IPC and NDMA and Epidemic Diseases Act?”, referring to the BJP leader Sunil Bharala.
The headline that was visible in the tweet preview of the article he plugged read, “BJP MLA Says He Visited Kumbh Mela and Was COVID-19 Positive”. The preview headline clearly insinuates that Bharala was actually COVID-19 positive at the time he visited the Kumbh Mela.
This, however, is not accurate. Logical Indian, that had first reported this, had just a day ago taken to Twitter to a apologise for spreading fake news.
In their statement, The Logical Indian said, “The Logical Indian earlier reported that Uttar Pradesh BJP leader Sunil Bharala tested positive for COVID-19 and still attended the Kumbh Mela in Haridwar. However, in an interview with NDTV, the leader said that he attended the event and later added that he is currently COVID positive.”
“We wish to acknowledge that we inadvertently misrepresented the facts. The Logical Indian apologizes for the incorrect statement that claimed he attended the event while he was infected with the virus,” he added.
In the fake news post, TLI attributed a fake quote to Sunil Bharala. The fake quote said, “I’m COVID positive myself. I still went to Kumbh. Dharma is above Corona guidelines.” The news post further claimed that Kumbh Mela has become a ‘Covid hotspot’.
Interestingly, even after The Logical Indian apologised for spreading fake news, Siddharth Varadarajan took to Twitter to spread the same fake news and even demand that other media houses join in.
The article that The Wire wrote itself seems to have been updated since it does acknowledge that the Logical Indian apologised for spreading this news, however, Siddharth Varadarajan craftily took to Twitter to spread the fake news further and refused to delete it despite several people pointing out his error to him.
One Twitter user pointed out that if the Uttar Pradesh Government books him for deliberately spreading fake news, Varadarajan would cry FOE (like he had done before).
Now if UP Govt books you for deliberately spreading Fake News then you will start crying for FoE https://t.co/uyjlxx4rRI— Kadian (@KadianTweets) April 17, 2021
Another simply plugged the apology statement by The Logical Indian and assumed that Varadarajan had the IQ to understand that he was spreading fake news.
Another demanded that the Uttar Pradesh police arrest him for spreading fake news.
However, despite several such tweets, Varadarajan has refused to delete his post till the time this article was written.
Siddharth Varadarajan, fake news and his previous run-ins with the Uttar Pradesh government
In April 2020, two FIRs had been registered against The Wire Founder-Editor Siddharth Varadarajan for spreading fake news against Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. Varadarajan, in a bid to whitewash the deeds of Tablighi Jamaat. At that time, he had wrongly attributed a fake quote to the UP CM.
Mrityunjay Kumar, the media advisor to the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, had informed that despite the warning from the state government, Varadarajan neither deleted the false article and nor apologised for the same. Therefore, an FIR had been registered against him.
In January 2021 as well, a complaint was registered in Uttar Pradesh against The Wire Editor Siddharth Varadarajan for publishing and circulating false propaganda with intent to cause violence after he had tweeted an article void of any facts pertaining to the death of a rioter during the tractor rally.
The complaint was registered against Varadarajan under Section 153B and 505 of the IPC in Rampur police station for trying to instigate the crowd by peddling false information about the death of a rioter named Navreet Singh, who had died during the tractor rally after his tractor turtled.
In fact, after the FIR was filed against Siddharth Varadarajan for spreading fake news in a bid to shield the Tablighi Jamaat, several ‘liberals’ had come out to cry Freedom of Expression and even threatened the Yogi Adityanath government with USA pressure to ensure that the case against Varadarajan was withdrawn.
It is clear that Siddharth Varadarajan has a habit of spreading fake news against Uttar Pradesh, its Chief Minister and its ministers and when the government takes action, he and his coterie cry freedom of expression to shield themselves. If under the current situation, the Uttar Pradesh government decides to act against him, it is almost a certainty that he and his cohorts will cry about how media freedom is under threat while refusing to delete the blatantly fake news that he has clearly chosen to spread.