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IRCTC deletes tweet that was seen as endorsing genocide of Hindus as ‘fake news’ after leftists outraged about a newspaper distributed in train

After liberals questioned why the newspaper 'The Aryavarth Express' was distributed in trains calling it ‘propagandist’, IRCTC promised action, but later deleted the tweet as it was seen as endorsing that the newspaper is propagandist

On Friday, the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) stirred a controversy after its statements on a Bengaluru based newspaper was misunderstood as its comments on the content of the paper. Due to the misunderstanding, IRCTC deleted its tweets about ‘The Aryavarth Express’, which was found to be distributed free in a train as a promotional move by the publisher.

It all started when a ‘Gender justice campaigner’ named Gopika Bashi was offended after spotting the newspaper in the train she was travelling it. Calling it “blatantly propagandist publication” on Twitter, she demanded to know why a copy of the paper was on every seat of the Bangalore-Chennai Shatabdi Express, and asked how IRCTC is allowing this, tagging the official Twitter handle of the corporation.

Her tweet was further amplified by one ‘journalist’ Rohini Mohan, who called the newspaper a ‘rag’, saying ‘It has no bylines, has fake news, dangerous Covid misinfo on its website’.

Soon after this, IRCTC sprang into action and issued a clarification that it is not distributing the newspaper in trains. IRCTC tweeted saying that ‘The Aryavarth Express’ was distributed as inserts inside ‘regular approved newspaper’ by the vendors.

The corporation added that the vendor “has been strictly advised to avoid any such inserts in future”. It added, “Onboard monitoring staff will keep a strict vigil on the same. The licensee of the train has also been counselled”.

Screenshot of the now deleted tweets

DRM Chennai also joined in, asking DRM Bengaluru to “investigate this as this isn’t the authorized newspaper to be given to passengers on the train”. The official Twitter handle of DRM Chennai added, “We kindly request urgent action on this.”

However, this action by IRCTC and the railway official boomeranged, as now it was the turn of nationalists to slam it for its comments. It is to be noted that the newspaper ‘The Aryavarth Express’ especially writes about atrocities on Hindus, Sikhs, and Buddhists, which is the reason the liberals were outraged after spotting it in the train.

Following the outrage on Twitter, IRCTC deleted the tweets. The Railway ministry said that IRCTC’s tweet was only regarding the distribution of the newspaper and not on the content of the paper, and as it had created misunderstanding, it was deleted.

“The Twitter handle of IRCTC had replied in good faith and had given explanation about procedures and vendors, but the same was being misunderstood as comment on content of the publication. The tweet was thus deleted as IRCTC does not deny atrocities heaped on religious minorities,” a source in the Railway Ministry said.

Several Twitter users had slammed IRCTC for its unnecessary harsh comments on the newspaper, as it was only being distributed free as part of a promotional campaign. Netizens commented that a newspaper is facing action because it talks in favour of Hindus.

“Why are pro Hindu voices being curtailed in the name of some warped idea of secularism of these blue ticks,” one person asked tagging the Railway Minister.

Some commented how it shows freedom of speech and expression is only for some, as IRCTC has effectively banned the newspaper inside trains, even if it was distributed as inserts with other papers.

Many people also demanded to know exactly what are the ‘approved regular newspapers’ that can be read in trains.

It seems that IRCTC acted in haste while responding to the complaints of spotting the newspaper in trains, and therefore they had to delete the tweets. As IRCTC is not paying for the ‘The Aryavarth Express’ to be distributed in trains, it could have clarified only that, avoiding other comments about ‘unauthorised distribution’ and warning the vendors. They could have just said that they are not paying for the newspaper, and passengers who do not like it can avoid reading it.

Pamphlets of various campaigns are always distributed with newspapers as inserts, and IRCTC or any other bulk purchasers of newspapers had never complained about them, and didn’t label that as ‘unauthorised distribution’. Therefore, the comments were clearly unnecessary, and hence were taken back.

Till the time of publication of this report, IRCTC has not posted any revised tweet on the matter.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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