POINT BLANK: Days of Fake News

POINT BLANK: Days of Fake News

June 2, 2017

By K.B. Ganapathy, Editor-in-Chief

Yesterday, I had written in my Abracadabra column about the tendentious manner a majority of the leading press and TV carry news and events.  I had written, “the news media both electronic and print are seen being influenced by these ideologues and anarchists, at least some of them, for whatever reason. Some reasons were exposed when the Radia Tapes Scam made news.” What I was trying to underline was that ever since Modi came to power there was a strange phenomenon of fake news floating all over the country, specially in the English media.

When Donald Trump relentlessly accused the American mainline media, both TV and Print, of fake news he was not taken seriously but the subsequent events had proved him right. Now, we read and hear about an outrage created by leftist media following a Beef Festival at IIT (Madras), held on May 29. The news published in most of the media  about this fest and the subsequent events, I learn now is fake. The original news accused the Right-Wing students attacking the Left-Wing students described as intellectuals, when the Beef-Fest was held at the IIT (Madras). The fake news industry had demonised the Right-Wing students of bashing up one R. Sooraj, the blue-eyed victim of the Left intelligentsia after the Beef-Fest was over.

According to Bhamy V. Shenoy, the Founder-Member of Mysore Grahakara Parishat (MGP), the truthful news in contrast to the fake news was published in Swarajya. After reading the news related to this incident in Swarajya, Bhamy Shenoy unsuccessfully tried to speak to the Dean of Students IIT (Madras) to find out why the college management did not issue a press note giving the true picture thereby demolishing the fake news.

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Bhamy Shenoy writes to me saying that it looked like IIT (Madras) management did not want to give one more opportunity to the trouble-makers to debate their case in media and malign the Modi government. The disciplined students have joined IIT (Madras) to pursue studies and not politics. No need to explain that this kind of behaviour surely pollutes the campus environment and the fake news industry is only adding fuel to fire.

According to the fake news, R. Sooraj was beaten up for taking part in the Beef-Fest. However, the Swarajya has a different story to tell — that what the large number of mainline newspapers and the TV channels have said about the incident was  absolutely wrong.

There was no Right-Wing attack on the student for taking part in the Beef-Fest. However, the fake news factory had portrayed that there was a group attack on a research scholar R. Sooraj who was present at the beef party on Monday (May 29).

However, here is what is making rounds in the social media about what really happened. The IIT (Madras) canteen has a section serving vegetarian food. During the lunch hour on May 30, that is a day after the beef festival, a student from Bihar, Manish Kumar Singh, saw Sooraj, who had participated in the Beef- Festival, in the vegetarian food section of the canteen. Seeing Sooraj, Manish Kumar Singh by way of conversation asked the former what he was doing in the vegetarian section being a beef eater. This turned into a verbal spat between the two, leading to a brawl.

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According to the social media posts, Sooraj told Manish that he would eat beef and even feed Manish with beef etc. etc. With the help of the two more students, Sooraj assaulted Manish who in self-defense pushed Sooraj who fell on a table and hurt his eyes. Both of them were rushed to the clinic and as for Manish, he was shifted to another hospital where he was to undergo surgery to his right hand.

Be that as it may, facts are sacred but comment is free. Here in this case the fact is that there was a fight between two students and not a group attack as reported in some section of the press and TV. This Manish Kumar Singh from Bihar is not a member of any Right-Wing group. He is simply a student come to study and not play politics.


  1. Aaron D says:

    R. Sooraj has done MS from aerospace department of IIT Madras. He holds a publication in JFM ( Journal of Fluid Mechanics), one of the prestigious journals, as well as participated in international conferences (European Turbulence Conference). Currently pursing Ph. D. I could not find any research credentials of Mr. Manish from Bihar. It was Manish, who approached Sooraj and asked him questions. Just because Sooraj gave an unfavorable reply does that give Manish the right to attach Mr. Sooraj. I guess Mr. Manish is ignorant about Article 21 of the Constitution that includes the right to eat food of one’s choice. While Mr. Sooraj was admitted in a prestigious private hospital immediately because of the seriousness of his injuries, Mr. Manish got him self admitted in a government hospital after several hours of the incident claiming his hand was fractured. His smiling face on the hospital bed speaks volumes about this incident and the things that transpired.


    You have taken up an important and relevant subject of the day , as menace of fake news is engulfing all of us . We readers accept and react without verifying the facts . Sometimes public are aroused to lynch / abuse the subjects of the news . How to verify the facts and segregate genuine from fake ?
    Which side of the news about IIT Chennai incident is genuine and which one is fake ? .
    You have come to conclusion that news appearing in main media was fake and appearing in Swarajya magazine is genuine . When I went to Swarajya magazine website , it announced itself to be ” Right of Center ” . Whether one can expect an impartial news coverage from such site in a conflict between right and left ? I am skeptical .

    You also appear to be convinced by some social media sites about Facts of the case . When so much fake news / photo shopped videos are appearing in social media , whether we can believe them ? Are you convinced by social media posts or swarjya about the Facts of the case or from some independent non-partisan observers , we don’t know . However you have come to conclusion that news appearing in main media is Fake .

    But we readers are unable to come to such conclusion as editors of newspapers believe a news as gospel which meets their ideological state of mind .

  3. Goli says:

    Protect the Cow
    Punish the Herder


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