Going on an offensive, the Congress filed a complaint against Zee Hindustan anchor Rohit Ranjan for running a doctored video of Rahul Gandhi, though the channel withdrew the content and issued a public apology. The party also came down heavily on former Information and Broadcasting Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore for not deleting the doctored video from his Twitter timeline.
The FIR, registered on a complaint by Congress activist Ram Singh Kasnwa at Bani Park Police Station in Jaipur West, is against “Mr. Ranjan and others” under 504, 505 of the IPC and other sections. The news report presented former Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s comments on SFI vandalism in Wayanad, Kerala, to look like remarks condoning and forgiving the killers of Kanhaiya Lal in Udaipur. Though the channel has apologised and withdrawn the news report, it continues to be used by the BJP leaders including Mr. Rathore, who hasn’t deleted it yet. Twitter flagged Mr. Rathore’s post with a cautionary remark that said “media is presented out of context.”
At a press conference at its headquarters in New Delhi, Congress leader and head of the party’s media and publicity Pawan Khera said that the channel has been booked because it is a repeat offender. By the time it issued an apology, the damage had already been done, especially considering the communally charged environment. He accused Mr. Rathore of “irresponsibly and mischievously” continuing with the provocation.
Mr. Rathore, on the other hand, has refused to apologise and continues to brazen it out. In a tweet in Hindi, he said that Mr. Gandhi and Congress will have to apologise if they don’t want to face legal action. “The way these people are trying to divert the direction of the investigation and public attention by making baseless allegations against the RSS and BJP, they will have to face the consequences,” he tweeted.
On July 2, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh had written a letter to BJP president J.P. Nadda protesting against the doctored video. The party will be seeking legal action against both the channel and the media groups who circulated it.
Mr. Khera said that the media channel and the BJP were completely in sync because within minutes of the channel putting out the doctored video, the BJP’s social media cell had started amplifying it by sharing it. Mr. Khera also said that Congress will take strong legal action against such offenders in future too.
“Because anybody who thinks that our decency is our shackle is sadly mistaken. It is our ornament and we are free to take that ornament off and take legal action. Gone are the days we continued to be decent because we have been watching the BJP and its IT cell,” he said.