With BJP leaders refusing to apologise for sharing doctored videos of Rahul Gandhi, the Congress on Monday said one first information report (FIR) in Chhattisgarh and police complaints across six States had been filed against former Information and Broadcasting Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore and Lok Sabha member Subrat Pathak.
On Saturday, All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary Jairam Ramesh had written to BJP president J.P. Nadda, asking the BJP to take action against its leaders for spreading fake news against Mr. Gandhi, get the doctored video removed from their Twitter timelines and apologise.
However, even after 48 hours, Mr. Rathore had not removed the video, flagged by Twitter as out of context.
The video, in which Mr. Gandhi described those who attacked his Wayanad office as children and said he had no ill-will against them, was used by a news channel as the former Congress chief’s comments on the killers of Udaipur tailor Kanhaiya Lal.
While addressing a press conference with Supriya Shrinate, chairman of the media and publicity department Pawan Khera said the FIRs against Mr. Rathore, Mr. Pathak and three others were registered at Bilaspur in Chhattisgarh on a complaint that the ‘doctored ’ video was aimed at disturbing communal harmony.
Police complaints were also lodged against them in Delhi, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
“Why are these people spreading this fire of hate all over the country? We ask the Prime Minister why he has converted MPs and former Ministers to ‘two-rupee trolls’. The problem is those who peddle fake news get promotions in the BJP. Everyone knows what the current I&B Minister said during Delhi riots and he was promoted,” said Ms. Shrinate, who heads the Congress’ social media department.
The Prime Minister spoke for nearly half an hour at Hyderabad but did not make a single appeal for peace, she added.
Targeting Mr. Rathore for sharing the doctored video on Twitter, Ms. Shrinate said if a former Union Minister attempted to spread fake news with the intention of disturbing communal harmony, it amounted to sedition.
“Peddling fake news on social media is one thing but using social media in cahoots with terrorists will not be accepted. At such a sensitive time in the country, how can they dare to spread a fake video involving Rahul Gandhi. Apart from fake news, this is also a conspiracy because even if Twitter posts are deleted, WhatsApp messages would remain in circulation and disturb peace,” she said, adding, “You will have to face consequences of maligning our leader”.
The Congress also targeted the BJP over arrested Lashkar-e-Taiba militant Talib Hussain Shah, who was BJP Minority Morcha social media head in Jammu and Kashmir.
“His photograph appeared with Home Minister [Amit Shah] who himself is not safe if he didn’t have information about Talib,” Mr. Khera said.
Reiterating the BJP’s alleged connections with one of the killers of Udaipur tailor, the Congress media department chairman added, “We showed you photos of how the BJP Udaipur chief inducted Attari as a member in November 2019. What more evidence does anyone need?”