No, Yogi Did Not Say ‘Lord Ram Would Protect Devotees From Coronavirus’. Portal Changes False Report After Outrage

by Swarajya Staff - Apr 1, 2020 05:12 PM +05:30 IST
No, Yogi Did Not Say ‘Lord Ram Would Protect Devotees From Coronavirus’. Portal Changes False Report After OutrageA screenshot of the tweet. 
  • After a Swarajya journalist spotted the misinformation, media advisor of Uttar Pradesh chief minister took to Twitter to threaten action against for “spreading lies”

The media advisor of Uttar Pradesh chief minister today took to Twitter to call out a news portal for “spreading lies” against Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

“Don’t try to spread lies. CM Yogi Adityanath has never said anything like this. Delete it right away or there will be action on it and a defamation case too. You will have to ask for donation for not only the website but also for the case [as translated],” tweeted Mrityunjay Kumar.

Kumar had responded to a tweet by Siddarth Varadarajan, editor of TheWire, who had said, “On the day the Tablighi Jamaat event was held, Adityanath insisted a large Ram Navami fair planned for Ayodhya from March 25 to April 2 would proceed as usual and that ‘Lord Ram would protect devotees from the coronavirus”.

The quote marks in the tweet suggest that the statement – “Lord Ram would protect devotees from the coronavirus” – was made by Adityanath.

A Swarajya journalist, Arush Tandon, pointed out earlier in the day that the statement attributed to the UP chief minister had not been made by him at all.

Ironically, an earlier report in Varadarajan’s portal itself had attributed the quote to one Mahant Paramhans, allegedly head of the Ayodhya temple trust.

Varadarajan’s tweet, thus, was highly misleading.

Here’s a series of posts by Tandon calling out the TheWire report and its editor’s tweet.

“Someone had indeed said that Ram will ensure "no harm comes to devotees". Except that it wasn't Yogi Adityanath. It was 'Ayodhya-based Mahant Paramhans'. And where did I locate this quote? In Varadarajan's own publication--The Wire,” Tandon wrote.

“There are other reports online too, which attribute the same quote to this Mahant Paramhans. So, it turns out that Varadarajan attributed **someone else's** words to a sitting chief minister,” he further wrote.

Later in the day, Varadarajan put out a ‘clarification’ tweet. The report too was modified.

“I should clarify that it was Acharya Paramhans, Hindutva stalwart and head of the official Ayodhya temple trust, who said Ram would protect devotees from coronavirus, and not Adityanath, though he allowed a public event on 25/3 in defiance of the lockdown and took part himself,” he posted.

A rejoinder in the report now says, “Note: In an earlier version of the story, the quote about Ram saving devotees from the coronavirus was wrongly attributed to Yogi Adityanath. It was in fact said by Acharya Paramhans, head of the official Ram temple trust.”

Varadarajan‘s clarification tweet, however, was also called out by some users, who questioned whether Paramhans is indeed head of the official Ayodhya temple trust.

While Swarajya is trying to independently verify this, Varadarajan has not yet replied to the questions. It’s also not clear whether the UP government will indeed take any action against this misinformation.

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