India’s ranking in the World Press Freedom Index is declining year after year. According to the World Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders, India is ranked 150th out of 180 countries, up from 142nd last year. Apart from Nepal, the ranking of all the neighbouring countries of India has declined. There could be many reasons behind this decline, but the question has always been raised about the Indian media and its coverage. At the same time, questions have also been raised on the impartiality of the Indian media. Apart from all these things, the broadcast of fake and misleading information by the Indian media has also put a dent on the credibility of the media. You can guess this in such a way that earlier misleading and fake information was spread on the society and social media, to find out the truth of which people used to watch newspapers or TV. But nowadays misleading and fake information is being spread through TV. We can take an example of this from the story coverage of the Nano GPS chip on the 2000 rupee note. Recently, an advisory was also issued by the government on sensational, fake and misleading information of the media. In which comments were made on many journalists and their programs.
Amidst the declining credibility and credibility of the media, we are exposing the lies and misinformation spread through TV by mainstream journalists. Today, research is being done by our team to analyze the misinformation spread by ABP News anchor Rubika Liyaquat.
The case of Smriti Irani’s degree
During the public debate in the 17th Bihar assembly elections in the year 2020, when an RJD supporter said, “These people (JDU and BJP supporters) are saying that your leader (Tejashwi Yadav) is only Class 9 passed. I want to remind them about their own leader Smriti Irani, who is also a union minister. What’s her degree?” Answering this question Rubika Liyaquat said, “She’s MA passed. She’s acquired an MA degree through correspondence course.” She then repeated her incorrect fact twice by saying, “She (Irani) has done MA. She has done MA.”
The reality of the Degree
Smriti Irani, the then Union Human Resources (HRD) Minister in April 2015was alleged that she has given different information about her educational qualification in the affidavits given during various elections. In the 2004 Lok Sabha election affidavit, she reportedly stated that her educational qualification is B.A. from Delhi University (School of Bhangra Correspondence). However, while filing affidavits in her nomination papers for Rajya Sabha from Gujarat in 2011 and Lok Sabha from Uttar Pradesh in 2014, she had stated that her educational qualification was B.Com, Part-I from School of Open Learning in Delhi University.
Freelance writer, Ahmar Khan filed a complaint in April 2015 that the then Union Human Resource (HRD) Minister Smriti Irani had filed an affidavit for the Lok Sabha elections in April 2004, stating that she had attended the School of Correspondence (Delhi University) in 1996. But on April 16, 2014, for the Lok Sabha elections, another affidavit filed by her stated that she joined the School of Open Learning (Delhi University-DU) and she had Bachelor of Commerce Part-I. The petition said that the facts and circumstances reveal the offenses committed by Smriti Irani under Section 125A of the Representation of the People Act (RPA), 1951. Section 125A of the RPA provides for fine for filing a false affidavit and is punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine, or with both.
The court on 20th November 2016 allowed the petition of the complainant seeking a direction of the Election Commission of India (ECI) and Delhi University (DU) officials to bring the qualification records of Union Minister Smriti Irani, as DU and ECI had said that they were unable to place the education records before the court. During the hearing of the complaint, an Election Commission official told the court that the documents filed by Irani regarding her educational qualifications at the time of filing her nomination could not be traced.
Also, pursuant to the court’s earlier direction, the Delhi University had also submitted that documents relating to Irani’s BA course in 1996, as alleged by her in an affidavit filed during the 2004 Lok Sabha elections haven’t met yet.
On 6 October 2016, the Patiala House Court had asked the Election Commission to attest the certificate of Union Minister Smriti Irani.
On 18 October 2016, a Delhi court said that Smriti Irani would not be summoned in the fake degree case as the plea against Irani questioning her college degree was an attempt to harass her. The court said that if Smriti Irani had not been a Union Minister, then perhaps this petition would not have been filed on behalf of the complainant.
Metropolitan Magistrate Harvinder Singh said that as many years have passed since the basic evidence has already been lost, the second standard of evidence is not enough for the court. The magistrate also said that the complainant has “delayed 11 years” in filing the complaint against Irani.
“I also have a degree from Yale, which I can bring out and show that Yale celebrates my leadership potential,” Irani said at the 2014 India Today Women’s Summit as India’s HRD minister.
Let us tell you that in this context, information had come to the fore that the degree that Irani was referring to was actually a Yale Faculty certificate for attending a 6-day training program at Yale University.
Our investigation has revealed that Smriti Irani has never claimed to have passed M.A. She has mentioned her bachelor’s degree in the affidavit. That’s why Rubika Liaquat’s saying that she is “MA pass” is misleading.
Rubika Liyaquat and CAA-NRC
Three Bollywood personalities were invited to ABP’s program “Shikhar Samagam”, whose responsibility was being handled by Rubika. In this show, there was a lot of heated debate between Actress Swara Bhaskar and Rubika Liyaquat. The program was focused on CAA-NPR-NRC. During the program, Rubika said- “Swara! I’m just explaining it to you.” At last, she asked Swara, “Okay, Swara Bhaskar! In which language should the Prime Minister of the country speak so that you will understand about NRC, speak in Hebrew, speak in French, speak in Sanskrit, speak in any other language so that you people understand that there is some kind of discussion on NRC right now. No meeting has taken place, no draft has been prepared, what should the Prime Minister do so that you people are sure.”
Swara Bhaskar said, “First of all, the Prime Minister of the country, I do not know which language, maybe in Gujarati, explain to your Home Minister that there is no talk on NRC, because the Home Minister and the Home Ministry have spoken nine or 10 times. NRC is going to happen all over the country.”
On this Rubika said with aplomb, “By the way, let me remind, he is not only the Home Minister of the Prime Minister, you are the citizen of India, he is your Home Minister too.”
Swara Bhaskar said, “Rubika ji! India is a democracy, if you think that the Home Minister should not be taken seriously, no problem, you should tell the government to tell us that and we will not our Home Minister seriously.”
Then Rubika said that she has her own point of view, the Home Minister will have to give you the importance, because he is the one whom you can question and he will answer you.
Contradictions in the statements of Amit Shah and Modi on NRC
Instead of solving it, the present Government of India used the CAA as an election winning tool in trying to increase the party’s base in the northeastern states including Bengal, complicating it further.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah made a statement on NRC in a press conference on 22 April 2019 in Kolkata, “You understand the chronology, first CAB is going to come. After CAB comes, NRC will come and NRC will not come only in Bengal, it will come for the whole country.”
Addressing a rally on May 1, 2019, he said, “First of all, through CAB, we will give citizenship to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain and Christian refugees, after that we are going to implement NRC. Tell me! These intruders who have come, should they be removed or not? Speak loudly, should they be removed or not?”
Amit Shah said at the Hindustan Time (HT) event on 18 September 2019, “In the election manifesto we have promised the people of the country, we will bring National Register of Citizens (NRC) not only in Assam but also within the country. A register of the citizens of the country will be made. Apart from this, we will take further action in respect of the rest of the people according to the legal process.”
At the same time, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while addressing the Red Fort rally on 22 December 2019, said on the NRC, “Look, the crow flew away after chopping off the ear and then people started running after the crow, hey brother! First check your ear that Whether the crow was bitten or not, first of all, see if anything has happened on the NRC? Lies are being run!! After my government came, from 2014 till today, I want to tell 130 crore countrymen, there was no discussion, no talk on the word NRC anywhere. Only when the Supreme Court said, we had to do only for Assam, what are you talking about. You are being lied.”
Impact of the protest
Questions have been arising regarding NRC in Assam. There were also continuous demonstrations across the country including Assam regarding civil rights. AIMIM President Asaduddin Owaisi protested strongly by tearing the bill in Parliament. Opposition MPs also created a lot of ruckus in Parliament. There have also been allegations of corruption and extravagance in it.
Students of various universities including Jamia Millia Islamia had reacted strongly and there was anger among them as the government was not saying anything clearly.
Shaheen Bagh became the center of anti-CAA protests in response to the Jamia Millia Islamia students’ protest and police crackdown against them. The demonstration was such that the government had to put the NRC, NPR and CAA on the backburner.
Rubika and Tablighi Jamaat
COVID-19 was a global disaster. Communal and religious color was also given in India regarding Corona. Many sensational and misleading information were circulated by the media regarding Tablighi Jamaat. Rubika Liyaquat claimed in the show “Seedha Sawal” that the police had gone to Izzat Nagar in Bareilly, Karmpur to find the Jamaatis. Later, 200 to 250 people attacked the police and many police personnel including IPS Abhishek Verma were injured. Then the police launched a search operation using mild force and you see its sample. The police then thrashed the miscreants fiercely.
In the video, it can be seen how a group of police is beating one person by surrounding him. According to Rubika, all the people who were beaten up by the police, had come to pelt stones at the police and the police had reached there to keep the “honour” of Izzat Nagar i.e. to keep it in quarantine, to save it from the corona virus.
Rubika Liyaquat forcibly linked this whole incident to Tablighi Jamaat, because later the statement given by SSP Bareilly made it absolutely clear that Tablighi Jamaat had nothing to do with this incident. According to the statement, the police team had gone to Karmpur Chaudhary in connection with the implementation of the complete lockdown. There were some young boys gathered there, who were persuaded to be extinguished and sent back and the police team came back.
Rubika and South Indian Mango
Rubika Liyaquat presented a report in a taunting tone calling Congress leader Rahul Gandhi “aam love”, according to which Rahul Gandhi said that he does not like the mangoes of UP at all. It is being said in the report, that he does not like anything of the UP from which Rahul was MP. The tweet of Ravi Kishan, MP from Gorakhpur was also mentioned, “Rahul ji does not like mangoes of Uttar Pradesh and Congress does not like Uttar Pradesh, counting equal” as well as a statement given by Rahul in Trivananthapuram, according to which people of Kerala have better understanding than North India.
It is worth mentioning that Rubika emphasized a particular part of Rahul Gandhi’s statement on the choice of mangoes because when reporters ask Rahul Gandhi from where he likes mangoes, Rahul replies that he likes Andhra’s mangoes. And further he also says that this choice is a matter of choice. In further conversation, Rahul Gandhi also talks about lame and Dussehri mangoes, he says that Dussehri is sweeter according to him.
Eating mangoes is a matter of personal choice. To taunt or question it is to make a “Non-Issue” turned into an “Issue”.
Rubika and the film The Kashmir Files
Rubika was interviewing the team of film The Kashmir Files in her popular show “Master Stroke”. During this she exploited a lot of material of “WhatsApp University“.
In this episode of “Master Stroke” at 14:38 minutes, in a slightly emotional way, she asked, “Tell me one thing, why did it take 32 years? Why is this thing shown to be so small?” She goes on to say, “I will say it without hesitation that in India when something goes wrong with a girl child, the government change the law, the whole country comes out on the streets and here we are five lakh Kashmiri Hindus, Pandits. You are talking, please give me any answer out of the three, five lakh Kashmiri Pandits leave their homes and it takes 32 years…”.
One, there are many factual mistakes in the film, other panelist guests are also doing many factual mistakes but instead of countering by playing the dharma of an anchor, she herself makes a factual mistake.
In response to the RTI filed by P. P. Kapoor, the Government of India itself has stated that 1.5 lakh people had migrated from Kashmir and 88 percent of them were Hindus who had migrated from there due to the violence and threat in the valley.
According to the report of The Hindu, 219 Kashmiri Pandits were killed and 24000 families of Pandits migrated from the Valley. There are records of only 1.5 lakh migrants leaving the Kashmir Valley. Although 88% were Hindus, no such data matches the large number of 5 lakhs.
Rubika Liyaquat may have targeted the Nirbhaya case and the then Central Government (Congress) by saying “When something goes wrong with a girl child, the government change the law”. This “Liyaquat” of Rubika proves that she considers a heinous crime like gang rape only “something wrong”. It is the height of insensitivity for a journalist to make such comments on gang rape like Nirbhaya.
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