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Saurabh Dwivedi of Lallantop lies about reaching out to Nupur Sharma, hides his cowardice with lies and chicanery: Here is the truth

One has to wonder why Saurabh Dwivedi insists that Nupur Sharma should have appeared on their show for them to fact-check claims being made about her statement. Why could they not simply present a fact-check discussing is what Nupur Sharma said was factually correct according to Islamic scriptures or not?

On the 25th of May 2024, Saurabh Dwivedi of Lallantop spun a sinister web of lies to defend himself against allegations that he was too scared to fact-check what Nupur Sharma said, because of which she has been getting death and rape threats by Jihadis for the past 2 years.

If one cuts through the self-aggrandising and victim-playing, Saurabh Dwivedi makes three specific claims in his video to prove his relentless pursuit of the truth. He cites three specific incidents to claim that he had reached out to Nupur Sharma to offer her the platform to put forth her version and therefore, he should not be blamed for not fact-checking what Nupur Sharma said.

OpIndia reached out to Nupur Sharma to understand when and how Saurabh Dwivedi reached out to Nupur Sharma and if his version of events is true.

Claim 1: He claims that right after the TimesNow debate where Nupur Sharma responded to Tasleem Rehmani insulting the Shivling found at Gyanvapi, he had met her at a BJP event. At that event, he had asked Nupur Sharma to appear on Lallantop to put forth her version.

OpIndia spoke to Nupur Sharma to understand what had happened. The BJP event Saurabh Dwivedi speaks of was the 8-year anniversary press conference of the BJP. The large press conference was held on the 31st of May 2022. This was a week after Mohammad Zubair had selectively tweeted the video of Nupur Sharma at the TimesNow debate and painted a target on her back and in the thick of the death and rape threats that she was getting from across the world.

When OpIndia spoke to Nupur Sharma, she confirmed that she met Saurabh Dwivedi on the 31st of May at the press conference, as she did several other journalists who were present there as well. She does not remember Saurabh asking her for an interview.

While Nupur Sharma doubts that he ever asked her, it is important to note that on the 31st of May, there was no embargo on Nupur from talking to the media. She gave a sound-byte to the media and sat down with OpIndia for a 1-hour interview on the 31st of May. It, therefore, seems counterintuitive for Saurabh to claim that on the 31st of May, Nupur had refused to speak to Lallantop. Let us, for a moment, assume that Saurabh did ask Nupur on the 31st in passing. The event at which they met was a BJP press conference where hundreds were present. Passing references are seldom taken as invitations. If Saurabh really intended to get Nupur on his show, he should have contacted her one-on-one and had that discussion with her. That was never done.

Claim 2: Saurabh Dwivedi claims that he met Nupur Sharma at a party hosted by an IAS couple and there, he asked Nupur to come on his show – a request that she declined.

This party was tentatively held in April of 2023. It was a private party by the IAS couple, who are family friends of Nupur Sharma. Sharma tells us that she was actually surprised to see Saurabh Dwivedi and his wife present at this party and therefore, it was she who approached him. They had a conversation where Nupur told him how difficult it was for her to live her life in silence, given her active career before Zubair painted a target on her back. Nupur recalls Dwivedi having no reaction, per se. She does not remember if a passing reference was made by Dwivedi about getting her on her show since it was a long time ago.

Again, let us assume for a moment that Dwivedi did, in fact, make a passing reference about getting Nupur Sharma on his show. This was a private affair where actually, it was Nupur Sharma who had approached Dwivedi for a conversation. The claim that HE approached Nupur to get her on his show is a lie ab initio. It is evident by this that Saurabh had no intention of setting the record straight because if he did, he would have approached Nupur Sharma directly, as journalists do when they invite guests to their show.

Claim 3: Saurabh Dwivedi claims that after Dr Ranganathan’s video, he approached Nupur Sharma yet again to appear on his show

This claim is an outright lie, as confirmed to OpIndia. Nupur Sharma told OpIndia that in the past month after the video by Dr Ranganathan went viral, Saurabh Dwivedi or his Lallantop team have not contacted her for a show at all.

For the uninitiated, a month ago, Dr Anand Ranganathan appeared in a podcast on RJ Raunac’s YouTube show. During the podcast interview, Dr Ranganathan questioned Lallantop about their conduct during the Nupur Sharma controversy. Dr Ranganathan questioned why Lallantop and Saurabh Dwivedi were more than happy to get Drishti IAS coaching founder, Vikas Divyakirti, on his show to present his side of the story after he received backlash for insulting the Ramayana, but did not have the courage to do the same when it came to Nupur Sharma.

Dr Ranganathan was essentially saying that Lallantop was not to ‘fact-check’ what Divyakirti said since he knows he would not receive any threats from the Hindu community, however, he was terrified to ‘fact-check’ what Nupur Sharma had said because if he were to say that what Sharma said was in accordance with Islamic doctrine, he would surely get death threats from Islamists.

Dr Anand Ranganathan too responded to the lies and chicanery by Saurabh Dwivedi of Lallantop, a month after his video calling them out went viral.

“Surreal. Instead of apologising to Nupur, the cowards at @TheLallantop are claiming they didn’t fact-check her because she declined to come on their platform. Even Modi declines to come on their platform – does it stop them from factchecking him?”, Dr Ranganathan tweeted.

Beyond the lies – the ridiculous chicanery by Saurabh Dwivedi of Lallantop

Saurabh Dwivedi is clearly lying to justify his cowardice. He has not contacted Nupur Sharma personally even once in 2 years to get her version on record. He has tried hard to pass off casual interactions as formal requests for an interview – casual interactions in which Nupur Sharma does not even remember Dwivedi extending the offer.

However, the chicanery goes beyond just the lies. Saurabh Dwivedi and Lallantop have never needed people to appear on their show to fact-check claims they want to fact-check. For example, Lallantop indulged in a sleight of hand to ‘fact-check’ what former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had said with regards to Muslims having the first right to India’s resources. The merit of their ‘fact-check’ apart, it is true that Lallantop did not need Manmohan Singh to appear on their show in order for them to fact-check claims being made about his statements.

Lallantop has also done several ‘fact-checks’ where they claim to present the truth about what PM Modi or BJP has said in several statements and speeches. They again, did not need PM Modi to appear on their show to present these ‘fact-checks’ – merits of their ‘fact-checks’ apart.

One has to wonder why Saurabh Dwivedi insists that Nupur Sharma should have appeared on their show for them to fact-check claims being made about her statement. Why could they not simply present a fact-check discussing is what Nupur Sharma said was factually correct according to Islamic scriptures or not? Why could they not open the Hadiths and ‘fact-check’ Islamic trolls like Mohammad Zubair who claimed that Nupur Sharma was ‘insulting Islam’? Why could Dwivedi not do a show independently, showing to their audience, that Nupur Sharma’s statement was not a lie but a repetition of what the Zakir Naik too has said in the past and therefore, branding her a hate monger was incorrect?

In truth, this video explanation by Saurabh Dwivedi seems to be a last-ditch effort to justify their cowardice after having failed to stand up for a woman being hounded and targeted by the global Islamic ecosystem.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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Nupur J Sharma
Nupur J Sharma
Editor-in-Chief, OpIndia.

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