Apologise for sharing ‘doctored’ video of Rahul Gandhi or face legal action, Congress’ Jairam Ramesh to BJP president Nadda

Congress alleges Udaipur killer Riyaz Attari was a BJP worker, a charge the party denies

Congress alleges Udaipur killer Riyaz Attari was a BJP worker, a charge the party denies

Apologise for sharing a doctored video of Rahul Gandhi or face legal action, Congress general secretary in-charge of communications, Jairam Ramesh, said in a letter to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president J.P. Nadda on July 2 and mentioned former Union Minister and Lok Sabha member Rajyavardhan Rathore as “someone who has persisted with spreading the fake video”.

Twitter too flagged a video shared by Mr. Rathore as “out of context”. In the video, the BJP leader claimed that Mr. Gandhi had referred to the Udaipur killers as “youngsters”.

Hitting back, the Congress accused that one of the Udaipur killers, Riyaz Attari, was a BJP worker and questioned if a probe by National Investigation Agency (NIA) was ordered to suppress this fact

The BJP, however, denied any links to the Udaipur killers.

“I am appalled to note that several of your party colleagues have been deliberately and enthusiastically sharing mischievous reportage that occurred on Zee News at 9 p.m. yesterday [July 1, 2022]. The original video was Shri. Rahul Gandhi’s comment on the SFI [Students Federation of India] violence on his Wayanad office, but it was deliberately and mischievously doctored to appear as if it was a comment on the heinous murder of Kanhaiya Lal in Udaipur,” Mr. Ramesh wrote to Mr. Nadda, adding that no other channel had shown this clip in the Udaipur context.

The Congress communication chief mentioned other BJP leaders like MP Subrat Pathak and MLA Kamlesh Saini as people who shared the doctored video. But he accused Mr. Rathore of deliberately persisting with the fake news.

“Despite being cautioned by my party colleagues that the clip was maliciously false and misleading, Shri Rathore persisted with amplifying the same, first deleting and then re-uploading the same. This leaves no doubt that his actions were deliberate and part of your party’s strategy to defame the former INC president, to defame the Congress party and to further polarise an already sensitive, communal situation,” Mr. Ramesh noted.

“If this apology is not issued today, we will take appropriate legal action against your party and its leaders who insist and persist in using the social media in such a blatantly irresponsible and criminal manner,” he added.

Mr. Gandhi didn’t directly refer to the doctored video but his tweet was suggestive.

“Propaganda and lies are the foundation of BJP-RSS. The whole nation knows that they seek to gain by stoking the fires of communal hatred. No matter how hard these traitors try to break the country, the Congress will work to unite India,” the former Congress chief tweeted.

Earlier, Pawan Khera, chairman of the party’s media department addressed a press conference in which he claimed that a Facebook post from 2018 makes it clear that Riyaz Attari, one of the killers of Udaipur tailor Kanhaiya Lal, was a member of the BJP minority wing.

“We had welcomed the NIA probe when it was announced but after these facts have come out, we are looking at it afresh…. Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot too is aware of these new facts and will decide the next course of action in accordance with law,” Mr. Khera said.

Former Union Minister Renuka Chowdhury too had shared screenshots of an investigative report of a news channel that claimed links between Riyaz and the BJP. “I am not surprised. Are you?” she asked on Twitter.

Responding to her, BJP IT Cell chief Amit Malviya tweeted, “I am not surprised that you are peddling #FakeNews. The Udaipur murderers WERN’T members of the BJP. Their attempt to infiltrate was like the LTTE assassin’s attempt to enter the Congress to kill Rajiv Gandhi.”

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