On January 10, 2020 the Delhi Police released photographs of suspects believed to be behind the JNU violence that took place earlier this month. Major chunk of the suspects belonging to the student unions of left politics were caught on video spreading violence in the campus.
Coinciding with this release, India Today carried a story ‘JNU Tapes’ in the evening of January 10, in which the aim was evidently to establish that, contrary to the Police version, ABVP was behind the violent protests.
In the process, India Today channel itself got exposed by people on social media as they proved with evidence that the channel got it all wrong.
Two Prime Claims Fallen Flat
- India Today claimed that one of the suspects identified by the Delhi Police, Akshat Awasthi, is an ABVP member. The claim fell apart, as people on social media proved that the demonstration he was part of was actually conducted by SFI activist Aishe, leader of the student union belonging to the Left, who herself is suspected of violence and mayhem.
- It was also revealed that the very video India Today used in its so-called expose is two months’ old. So, a video recorded and broadcasted in October 2019 was evidently used for falsely portraying ABVP’s involvement in the violence that took place post-January 5th, reportedly over hike in hostel fees.
The second claim, which was the foundation for the channel’s story as ‘JNU tape’, showed Akshat Awasthi in mask, telling the TV crew that he with his sticks in his masked avatar, is going for a retaliatory attack on students affiliated to left wing after receiving instructions from the ABVP functionaries.
This foundation of the story itself collapsed as India Today was caught spreading the same clip back in October 2019. Thus, it knowingly ran the tapes falsely attributing it to the violence that unfolded in the month of January 2020.
As people on social media confronted the channel and anchor Rahul Kanwal with these facts, instead of admitting the wrong, the anchor went on to argue that the said ‘ABVP member’ indeed took part in the demonstrations in the month of January.
This claim too fell apart immediately, as people on Twitter countered the anchor demonstrating that the event he quoted to show the participation of Akshat Awasthi was in fact organized by the left led student union. See the below twitter thread.
Article shared by @rahulkanwal to establish Akshat's connection with ABVP suggests that protest against fee hike was organized by @aishe_ghosh . Rahul Kanwal is helping Delhi Police in proving that Left is behind JNU Violence and @IndiaToday reports are futile. pic.twitter.com/M2HkX4oWf8
— LolmLol (@LOLiyapa) January 10, 2020
Thus, in the age of social media, a fake narrative which could be sold as the truth in earlier days by vested interests within the media stand completely exposed.