Manipur Viral Video: Hindutva Supporters Try to Blame Muslims After Erroneous ANI Tweet 

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When the news agency was called out for misreporting, it deleted the tweet without issuing any clarification. But after several hours, it chose to do so claiming the tweet was posted “inadvertently”

Team Clarion

NEW DELHI — Hindutva bandwagon had a brief period of sadism as it began putting blame on Muslims for the grisly Manipur incident wherein two women were stripped and paraded on the streets and then gang-raped after Asian News International (ANI) put out a misleading tweet about the accused.

ANI, the news agency which is often accused of reporting in favor of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Central government, put out a tweet on Thursday mentioning Md Ibungo alias Abdul Hilim as the one who was arrested in the viral video case.

“Manipur viral video case| One cadre of People’s Revolutionary Party Kangleipak (PREPAK) Pro name Md Ibungo alias Abdul Hilim (38) of Imphal East was arrested by Imphal East District Police. A total of three main accused of the heinous crime of abduction and gangrape under Nongpok Sekmai PS, Thoubal District have been arrested today: Manipur Police,” tweeted ANI.

However, some individuals including fact-checker Mohammed Zubair pointed out that the statement released by Manipur Police in this regard shows that Abdul Hilim was arrested in a different case. It has nothing to do with the viral video case. Hilim was arrested by Imphal East District Police while the police in Thoubal district made arrests in the viral video case. The arrest of Hilim is not mentioned in the case of viral video, shows the statement released by the state police.

When the news agency was called out for misreporting, it deleted the tweet without issuing any clarification.

On Friday morning, the ANI put out clarification regarding its misleading tweet. It said the tweet was posted “inadvertently”.

“Note on Story retraction and APOLOGY: Yesterday evening, inadvertently a tweet was posted by ANI regarding arrests undertaken by the Manipur Police. This was based on an erroneous reading of tweets posted by the Manipur Police as it was confused with an earlier tweet regarding other arrests made by it in relation to the incidents shown in the viral video. Shortly afterward, within a few minutes, on realising the error the tweet was promptly deleted and a corrected version was immediately put out. Error regretted,” reads the clarification.

Before the clarification was put out, Hindutva supporters started peddling misinformation suggesting that it was some Muslim men who were responsible for the barbaric incident. Sagar Kumar, Abhay Pratap Singh, Apurva Singh, Fit Lt Anoop Verma, Sudhi Mishra and advocate Ashutosh were some of the blue tick users peddling the misinformation on Twitter. Some users even started making up facts related to Abdul Hilim. 

Abdul Hilim started trending on Twitter most of Thursday night. Even some news outlets published misinformation on the arrest.

Meanwhile, some people also called out ANI for fudging the facts.

Journalist Adity Menon said: “ANI should face legal consequences for this as should those who spread fake news around these incidents”.

A social media activist Siddharth said: “Every single person who’s fairly active on Twitter knows that this was not “inadvertent”. It was 100% intentional and was done to introduce an anti-Muslim spin to the Manipur story. We’ve seen ANI doing this way too many times to accept their fake apology”.

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