Newslaundry, an alleged news website with questionable credibility has been caught peddling fake news once again. It has published an article titled ‘The media’s blind eye to President Kovind’s humiliation,’ claiming that President Ramnath Kovind and his wife faced “caste-based discrimination” by “Brahmin priests” in Jagannatha Puri in March this year.
Here is what happened. A huge furore erupted over claims that president Kovind and his wife Savita Kovind were victims of caste-discrimination at the hands of Brahmin priests of Puri. Some media houses also reported that the presidential secretariat lodged a formal complaint with local authorities about the alleged misbehaviour. However, an investigation by India Today revealed that all of the above claims are false.
Ashok Malik, the press secretary of the president, told India Today, “If anyone claims that any such letter was sent by us, they should produce it. No such letter has been sent by the president’s house and all the reports regarding it are mere speculation.”
India Today contacted a senior priest of the Jagannath temple named Ipshit Prathihari, who also insisted that the reports of a formal complaint from the presidential secretariat were false.
However, people at Newslaundry do not think it necessary to verify facts before posting anything or maybe, they deliberately post fake news for their political agendas.
Newslaundry claimed that “Brahmin” priests of Jagannath temple discriminated against President Kovind because he was a Dalit. Ironically, far from being anti-Dali or anti-tribal, the head priests of the Jagannath temple, Daitapatis, are themselves of tribal origins. Maybe they have internalised Bahujan caste oppression, who knows?
Newslaundry made several other false claims in the article. It was claimed that only a few media outlets shared the story of discrimination faced by Kovind, which is false. The entire episode caused a big outrage. Several media houses picked this incident. As ironical as it may sound, on the one hand Newslaundry claims that ‘Apart from one or two media houses, the story wasn’t even printed, let alone debated on prime-time news hours,’ while on the other hand, along with the half-hearted apology, on the webpage of the now suspended article, it has mentioned four major media outlets which have published this incident.
Then, it was claimed that presidential secretariat issued a letter to the temple administration for the alleged misbehaviour, which is yet again false; we have already debunked this earlier.
After several vigilant social media users caught Newslaundry red-handed peddling the caste-discrimination propaganda, the website hastily suspended the article and published a half-hearted apology for the mistake on the webpage of the suspended article as well the Facebook post on its page. However, in their apology-cum-casuistry, even after mentioning that the office of the president has itself denied the incident, Newslaundry arrogantly said that it will verify the facts “independently.”
Not long ago, we published a list of lies and propaganda peddled by the Newslaundry titled ‘Newslaundry and its Fake News Saga.’ It seems, this saga isn’t going to end anytime soon.