ANI’s misleading tweet naming a Muslim man in the arrests that followed the shocking viral video of Manipur added a communal spin which was immediately deleted. The next day by the time the news agency apologised for the mistake, the name ‘Abdul Khan’ was already trending with false and misleading claims.
Four individuals have been apprehended in the Thoubal district in connection with the heinous crime, after more than 75 days since the distressing incident of two Kuki women being publicly humiliated and sexually assaulted by a mob in Manipur.
In a completely unrelated development, the Imphal East District police recently arrested Abdul Hilim, accused of being affiliated with the insurgent group known as the People’s Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak.
ANI tweeted this news falsely implicating Abdul Halim in the shameful women’s naked parade and gang rape case in Manipur’s Thoubal district. The false news was picked by right-wing trolls and BJP supporters giving it a communal spin and blaming the shameful incident on Muslims. ANI tweet was not only picked by them but also by major media houses like NDTV and Outlook.
On realising the mistake on Thursday, ANI deleted the tweet. But ‘Abdul Khan’ began trending on Twitter with false and misleading claims.
The following day on Friday, ANI apologised for the false news that it had tweeted based on “an erroneous reading of tweets posted by the Manipur police”
Many accused ANI of having dubious credibility, as the news agency, though deleted the tweet immediately, took a lot of time to apologise for the misleading news which gave and fanned the communal spin to the Manipur news.