New Delhi [India], July 7 (ANI): Alleging Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MPs Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Subrat Pathak and Bhola Singh of sharing fake and distorted news on their social media account for spreading disinformation against Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in connection with the Udaipur killing, senior leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury wrote to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on Thursday seeking to refer the matter to the Committee on Ethics for urgent examination and action.
In his letter to Birla, Chowdhury said a news channel on July 1 ran a distorted and malicious broadcast in which the statements made by Rahul Gandhi were falsely and purposefully linked to a completely unrelated event in order to "mislead, incite and provoke the public".
"The distortion was not an innocent one because as numerous other channels and media outlets reported, his comments were made in the context of SFI members who had vandalized his office in Wayanad, Kerala. The offending channel had deliberately clipped the footage to distort its meaning and maliciously suggest that he had demonstrated sympathy for the killers of Kanhaiya Lal," said Chowdhury.
The Congress leader said it was clear from the tone, language and conduct of the broadcasters that this doctored clip was designed to create a dangerously false impression in the minds of the viewers regarding Rahul Gandhi's position on the heinous killing in Udaipur; to defame him and incite anger towards him by creating the impression that he was condoning a violent and horrific crime; and to foment social tensions in an already sensitive and polarized environment.
"Despite the fact that the item was verifiably false, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, MP from Jaipur Rural, Subrat Pathak, MP from Kannauj and Bhola Singh, MP from Bulandshahr shared the fake and distorted news on their social media accounts for the sole purpose of spreading disinformation. The doctored clip was widely amplified on social media with a malicious intent to incite physical harm against him and further vitiate the environment of hatred. This highly irresponsible conduct deserves to be condemned unequivocally," alleged Chowdhury.
"The offence is all the more egregious since the aforementioned Parliamentarians were aware that the video was distorted and presented in an entirely baseless and false context. Rathore had initially deleted the post spreading the fake news but has thereafter reuploaded/tweeted the same news broadcast with the full knowledge that it was distorted. In fact, Twitter has subsequently flagged his tweet as "being presented out of context". As for the others, while Subrat Pathak deleted his post, his party colleague, Bhola Singh, MP persists in spreading the distorted clip," stated the Congress leader.
Chowdhury said the conduct by the named persons is deliberate, willful, motivated and malicious. It is actuated by political ill will and smacks of a wanton disregard for every rule, norm, convention or practice of ethical conduct or decency.
"We as MPs and members of the Indian National Congress, turn to your good office and the Parliamentary Committee set up expressly to examine any complaint against the unethical conduct of members of the Lok Sabha. In order to deter such egregious conduct in the future, a swift, categorical and effective intervention should be made. In view of the above-mentioned unethical conduct of the Parliamentarians, we request you to exercise your power under the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha and refer the matter to the Committee on Ethics for urgent examination and action," he urged.
Notably, Chhattisgarh Police on Tuesday reached the television channel news anchor's residence in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, after an FIR was registered against him following the broadcast of a misleading video on Rahul Gandhi for which the channel had issued an apology.
Ranjan had on his show said, "Yesterday, in our show DNA, Rahul Gandhi's statement was taken in the wrong context by linking it to the Udaipur incident, it was a human error for which our team apologises."
The Congress filed a complaint in Raipur against Ranjan for allegedly "running a doctored video of Rahul Gandhi".
According to reports, the FIR filed by Congress said that Rohit Ranjan intentionally linked Rahul Gandhi's statements on the vandalization of his office to the Udaipur incident in an attempt to incite public sentiments.
Congress MP Rahul Gandhi while referring to the attack on his Wayanad office had said, "The children who did this have acted in an irresponsible way. They are kids, forgive them." (ANI)