“India TV Reported False and Misleading News”, says Darbhanga Police After Muharram Flag Controversy

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Sami Ahmad

PATNA—India TV of Rajat Sharma was red-flagged by Darbhanga police on Sunday after it reported that the members of the Muslim community pelted stones at a Durga Mandir under the jurisdiction of Mabbi policeoutpost, some 150 kilometers north of Bihar’s capital Patna.

Quoting India TV’s news tweet Darbhanga Police wrote: “India TV reported false and misleading news.” The tweet of this news has been since deleted by India TV but it is not clear if any case of spreading fake news will be registered against it.

Darbhanga Police clarified that neither any flag/symbol was put on the said Mandir nor stones were thrown on it. It added, “Some anti-social elements created a ruckus against the peace committee’s decision. The situation is under control.”

As reported in the local media, A Muharram flag post was erected in Bazar Samiti Chowk under Mabbi Police Outpost on Saturday night. The next morning some members of the Hindu community opposed the flag as it was near a Mandir. One local journalist said that the flag post was uprooted and erected on the side of the road but this too was opposed.

This turned into a heated exchange of words and finally resulted in an exchange of brickbats. Sticks and bottles were also used to attack one another. Police outpost in charge Govind Prasad and others sustained minor injuries.

Some media reports suggest that the policemen were outnumbered by those creating a ruckus at the spot.

It is also reported that a bigger police contingent reached the spot but by then it was too late. When the police of several areas along with district magistrate Rajiv Raushan and SSP Awakash Kumar reached the spot, the situation was brought under control. The police got the mob dispersed by making announcement on mike. A magistrate and adequate police force have been deputed at the related site.

Apart from India TV, ABP News falsely claimed that gunshots were fired which was pointed out by the Darbhanga Police.

Senior journalist and influencer Dilip Mandal wrote that had the case been of Tamilnadu there would have been an FIR and some arrest. He added, “The editor of India TV Rajat Sharma would have tendered
his apology.” He concluded that due to the administration’s negligence fake news factory succeeded.

The local police have said that culprits are being identified and will be arrested. It said that CCTV footage was also being watched to get help in this case. But it is not clear if there would be any FIR against the news outlets which spread fake news.

India Tomorrow tried to contact SSP Awakash Kumar and ask if there would be any FIR registered against the fake news spreader outlets on his official mobile phone but the call was forwarded and not connected. A Whatsapp message in this regard was also not replied to. A source told this news portal that there could be a case against eight such news outlets including some local youtube channels.

Advocate Anas Tanwir on his Twitter handle asked the police to register FIR citing the Supreme Court’s order to register FIR in such cases.

Others congratulated the Darbhanga police and demanded registering of an FIR and a ban for some time on such channels spreading fake news.

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