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Misreporting By Aaj Tak Leads to False Claims About Explosion in Hyderabad

While an explosion did take place in Hyderabad, it wasn't in a mosque.

Published
WebQoof
4 min read
Misreporting By Aaj Tak Leads to False Claims About Explosion in Hyderabad
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Hindi news channel Aaj Tak put out a news story on Sunday, 12 June, that said that a chemical explosion had taken place in Gowliguda mosque of Hyderabad, leaving two people seriously injured.

The screenshot of the news article and a tweet from the news channel's official Twitter handle has since gone viral with people questioning the presence of chemical in the mosque. The story was also shared by right-wing propaganda website, OpIndia.

However, we found that the story put out by Aaj Tak was not true. While there was a blast in Gowliguda area of Afzalgunj, Hyderabad, it didn't take place inside a mosque.

According to the preliminary investigation, the explosion took place when two individuals – Bharat Battad and Venugopal Battad – were trying to dispose expired chemicals into a drain. While Bharat died in the incident, Venugopal was seriously injured. The final forensics report on the exact cause of the blast is yet to come out.

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CLAIM

Those sharing the screenshot wrote a caption that read, "मस्जिद में कैमिकल का क्या काम? इतना कैमिकल की उसमे ब्लास्ट हो जाये क्यों इकट्ठा किया गया था? कैसा कैमिकल था जिसमें ब्लास्ट हो जाये?"

[Translation: What is the use of chemical in the mosque? Why was so much chemical collected that it would explode? What kind of chemical was there that exploded?]

A link to the archive can be found here.

(Photo: Twitter/Screenshot)

While Aaj Tak updated its copy, OpIndia, which quoted Aaj Tak for the information, hadn't updated its copy while this story was being written.

An archive of the tweet can be found here. 

(Source: Twitter/Screenshot)

The screenshot of the Aaj Tak report was shared by several other Facebook and Twitter users, archives of which can be found here and here.

WHAT WE FOUND OUT

We conducted a keyword search for the report on Aaj Tak and found a tweet on news channel's official Twitter handle that had the story with the same headline but with a different caption.

An archive of the tweet can be found here.

(Source:Twitter/Screenshot)

Upon opening the story, we found that the story had been updated and references to the mosque had been removed from both the headline and the story.

However, we found an archive of the story and it say that the blast took place in a mosque in Hyderabad.

We then looked for news reports on an explosion in Hyderabad and found several reports. A report in The News Minute said that a "chemical explosion occurred in Gowliguda under the jurisdiction of the Afzalgunj police station, when two people were allegedly dumping chemicals into a manhole."

One person called Bharath Battad died in the blast while his father Venugopal Battad was seriously injured and was being treated at Osmania General Hospital.

We found similar reports in reports from news agency PTI and The New Indian Express.

Taking a cue from the reports, we contacted M Ravindar Reddy, SHO at Afzalgunj police station who confirmed that the details mentioned in the news reports. Reddy told us that while Bharat was employed at a private firm, his father used to run a local shop where they sold chemicals used to make resin sheets.

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On the day of the blast, the duo were disposing of some leftover chemicals in the drain near their house and were trying to push them ahead with a rod when they got stuck. That is when the blast took place.

"The blast took place right in front of his house and his shop is barely 50 meters from his house. There was no blast in a mosque. That claim is completely false," Reddy added.

Evidently, an incorrect report from Aaj Tak was used by right-wing propaganda website OpIndia and other social media users to spread misinformation about a blast in Hyderabad.

(Not convinced of a post or information you came across online and want it verified? Send us the details on WhatsApp at 9643651818, or e-mail it to us at webqoof@thequint.com and we'll fact-check it for you. You can also read all our fact-checked stories here.)

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Read and Breaking News at the Quint, browse for more from news and webqoof

Topics:  Hyderabad   Blast   Aaj Tak 

Edited By :Padmashree Pande
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