(Editor's Note: The story was first published on 2 July and is being republished in the light of Noida police arresting Zee News anchor Rohit Ranjan.)
Hindi news channel, Zee News, aired a clip of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi calling the people who choose violence as 'children' and adding that he doesn't hold any anger towards them. The media outlet linked his statements to the murder of Kanhaiya Lal, a tailor, who was brutally murdered in Rajasthan's Udaipur.
However, we noticed that Zee News' report was misleading.
1. Zee News aired an altered clip to claim that Gandhi is defending the accused in the Udaipur killing.
Later, Zee News issued a clarification about the report.
The claim was first peddled by Zee News where anchor Rohit Ranjan claimed that Rahul Gandhi spoke about the Udaipur case and called the accused ‘children,’ adding that he is not angry over their actions.
The clip also showed Gandhi saying that the "atmosphere in the country has been created by the ruling dispensation." The clip played the two remarks together giving it an impression that the video was linked to the Udaipur killing.
Soon after, the video went viral on social media.
WHAT WE FOUND OUT
We looked for a longer version of Rahul Gandhi's interaction with the media in Kerala. We found a video posted by News18 Kerala on their YouTube video on 2 July 2022.
We noticed at 1:00 timestamp, a reporter asked Gandhi about Wayanad's Congress office getting vandalised by youngsters. To this question, Gandhi replied:
"First of all, it is my office but before being my office, it's the office of people of Wayanad. This is the office of the voice of the people at Wayanad. So, it's quite an unfortunate thing that has been done. Everywhere in the country you see the idea that violence will resolve problems but violence never resolves problems. However, the ones who did this are children and it's not fine, it's not a good thing to do. They have acted in an irresponsible way. I don't have any anger or hostility towards them, they have done a silly thing. So we should leave it at that. They are kids, I don't think they understand the consequences of these types of things. I think we should be forgiving as far as they are concerned," Gandhi said.
At 2:17 timestamp, another reporter asked Gandhi about the Congress' views about the Supreme Courts' statement about holding the former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson responsible for Udaipur violence. To which, Gandhi said:
"Well look, of course, the Supreme Court has said this, the atmosphere in the country has been created by the ruling dispensation. It is not the person who has made a comment, it is the Prime Minister, the Home Minister, BJP and RSS that has created this environment in the country of anger, hatred and frankly the creation of this environment in the country is an anti-national act.."
Zee News played an altered clip of Gandhi's answers to link two different questions to each other, misleading the viewers.
At 3:55 timestamp, Gandhi brings back the point about youngsters in Wayanad, who have different ideology than him, getting exciting and breaking his office. He adds that he does not appreciate them breaking his office and he will fix it but everyone should be forgiving towards them.
We watched the whole interaction between Gandhi and the media, no where has he mentioned about the accused in Udaipur's murder case, as claimed.
Clearly, Rahul Gandhi's answers about Wayanad's office getting vandalised, have been falsely linked to Udaipur murder row by doctoring the clips.
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