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The Wire withdraws fake news about Rajnath Singh, says it was based on other news reports

The Wire blamed two newspapers, namely, Prabhat Khabar and National Herald for misquoting Rajnath Singh on Ramcharitmanas and Covid-19

On Saturday (April 24), left-propagandist news portal The Wire was forced to withdraw its story for maliciously attributing a fake quote to Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.

An article published by The Wire claimed that the BJP leader had prescribed people to recite the Hindu epic poem ‘Ramcharitmanas’ to fight the Wuhan Coronavirus. Although the article now stands completely revamped, we found a copy of its original excerpt curated by Dailyhunt.

The Wire claimed, “Addressing a Ram Navami function in Lucknow via a video conference, the defence minister said that the recitation of ‘Ramcharitmanas’, an epic poem composed by Tulsidas, has the propensity to cure COVID-19 by enhancing positivity in an individual. Singh went on to add, ‘Rest assured this can work as a medicine in major diseases.”

Screengrab of the original article by The Wire

The malicious article further added, “Interestingly, what came as a prompt booster to the defence minister’s idea was the loud support by folk singer Malini Awasthi, who was the star artist at the Ram Navami event. ‘Reciting ‘Ramcharitmanas’ will help in combating all the negative news being spread about the pandemic; it will also deviate our attention from COVID-19′, echoed Malini, who is married to UP’s additional chief secretary (home) Avanish Awasthi.”

Claims about Rajnath Singh suggesting Ramcharitmanas as Covid cure was earlier published in two newspapers

The outrageous claims first featured in an article published in the Hindi newspaper ‘Prabhat Khabar’ on Thursday (April 22). Similar claims were made by the Congress mouthpiece ‘National Herald’ on Friday (April 23) as well. National Herald claimed also claimed, “Addressing an event organized on the occasion of Rama Navami in Lucknow, one of the worst affected cities in Uttar Pradesh, Singh said that the recitation of ‘Ramcharitmanas’ will ‘increase positivity’. “It works as a medicine (against the deadly virus),” Singh said in his virtual address, adding, “Stress on religion and spirituality will work as a medicine in the fight against Coronavirus”.”

Screengrab of the article in National Herald

The Wire withdraws his erroneous report, tenders apology to Rajnath Singh

Hours after publishing the article, The Wire announced on Twitter that it is withdrawing the erroneous report. In a tweet, it said, “A story posted on our website today wrongly claimed Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had said the Ramcharitmanas would help the fight against COVID-19. The story was based on unverified reports from other news sources and has been withdrawn.”

Screengrab of the tweet by The Wire

Furthermore, it blamed two newspapers, namely, Prabhat Khabar and National Herald for misquoting Rajnath Singh. The propagandist news portal conceded that the quotes were ‘erroneously reproduced’ in the report and the headline by a correspondent without independent confirmation.

The Wire further apologised, “The story was unpublished shortly after publication since the necessary due diligence on it was not done. A subsequent review by our editorial desk of what appears to be a recording of the entire event does not show the minister making the remarks attributed to him and we have thus removed those references. We apologise to Rajnath Singh and our readers for this lapse.”

The Wire spreads fake news about BJP leader visiting Kumbh Mela after testing Covid positive

Earlier, The Wire founder Siddharth Varadarajan had taken to Twitter to claim that that BJP leader Sunil Bharala was Coronavirus positive at the time of his visit to Kumbh Mela. He inquired, “Why Godi media warriors were not demanding he be arrested under the IPC and NDMA and Epidemic Diseases Act?” However, as usual, his claims were not accurate.

The controversy was premised on a fake quote published by The Logical Indian, wherein it falsely quoted Bharala as saying “I’m COVID positive myself. I still went to Kumbh. Dharma is above Corona guidelines.” However, the Logical Indian later took to Twitter to 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.”

It further added, “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.” Just a day after The Logical India apologised, The Wire deliberately chose to publish the fake news again.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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Dibakar Dutta
Dibakar Dutta
Centre-Right. Political analyst. Assistant Editor @Opindia. Reach me at [email protected]

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