No, UP Police Didn’t ‘Arrest’ A Goat for Not Wearing a Mask
The incident was largely reported with misleading headlines.
Several media outlets, including news agency IANS, falsely reported that in a bizarre incident, a goat was ‘arrested’ by Uttar Pradesh's Kanpur police in the Beconganj area, for not wearing a mask.
However, The Quint found out from the police that the incident was largely misreported, since an animal cannot be charged for a 'crime.'
The incident was first tweeted by news agency IANS on 26 July, stating that a goat roaming in the Beconganj area without a mask was picked up by the Kanpur police.
The reports mention Circle officer (CO), Saifuddin Beg of the Anwarganj police station who stated that “the police had found a youth without a mask, taking the goat along”.
The reports also states that one of the policmen admitted to the goat’s “lockdown violation” and asked, “people are now making their dogs wear a mask so why not a goat?”
WHAT WE FOUND OUT
The incident has been reported with misleading headlines. The goat wasn't “arrested” nor was it found to be violating lockdown rules.
The Beconganj area falls under the purview of the Anwarganj police station. The Quint got in touch with CO Saifuddin Beg who said that the goat was actually left behind by a youth near a police-checking barricade.
"It's not true at all. You can't arrest an animal!" Beg stated.
"People have spread the news like we caught the goat for not wearing a mask. The animal was in fact left behind by a youth who fled when he saw a police barricade conducting checks on lockdown violations. The officers brought the animal to the station, in case it's reported missing later," Beg added.
The youth came to the station later to claim his goat back and was then fined for not wearing a mask.
"We never gave a statement saying that we have 'arrested' the goat," Beg confirmed.
This isn't the first time that news agency IANS has misled its followers. The Quint has fact-checked several incidences of misreporting by the news agency:
- IANS had fallen for a tweet from a fake Twitter account of Sara Pilot, wife of Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot, which seemed to attack Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot.
- It had passed off a piece of satire published by Pakistan-based website, The Dependent as actual news. The wire agency published a misleading article with the headline “Imran Khan Reads Chart Upside Down, Claims COVID Curve Flattening," which was later picked by several other news websites.
- It had also reported a tweet from a parody account of Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Deb, as an actual tweet in its news article.
In the era of mounting fake news, the news agencies and media houses bear an additional responsibility of verifying the facts before reporting it to the public.
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