ANI News misreports firecrackers as dynamite sticks in Kollam fire, right wing rumour mills go to town with it

In a very unfortunate incident, over 100 people died and more than 300 people were injured after a fire broke out at the Paravur Puttingal Devi temple in Kollam, Kerala.

According to a NewsMinute report, the fire started when a firework that is supposed to explode while airborne malfunctioned and exploded on the ground near a stash of other fireworks.

[pullquote align=”full”] Sometime between 3AM and 3 30AM, just few minutes before the fireworks display was to end, one of the fireworks, called “amittu”, which was supposed to explode in the air and fizzle out, instead fell on the ground, and the sparks flew around causing a fire.

 

This fire then spread to 12 huge “amittus” which were kept nearby, on the shed made of concrete.

 

When those 12 fireworks caught fire, there was a huge explosion, which could be heard hundreds of meters away.
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News Minute also published a picture of the unburned ‘Amittus’, a traditional Keralite fire cracker, that caused the fire.

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However, ANI News reported the incident in a different way. They first claimed that unexploded dynamite sticks were found at the site and 2 hour laters, they tweeted again saying that they were actually fire crackers and not dynamite sticks.

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2 hours between the original erroneous tweet and the correction was enough time for the right wing rumour mills to go to town with this issue. The traditional Keralite fire cracker called “Amittu” became dynamite sticks and the fire become an attack on Hindus thanks to the right wing rumour mills.

For eg, one of the right wing propagandist Facebook pages put this up with the hashtag #HindusUnderAttack

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Even when the ANI News tweeted that its earlier report of dynamite sticks was erroneous, a typical right wing website called lotpot wrote an entire hypothesis as to why it was dynamite and not firecrackers.

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This hypothesis was tweeted over and over again.

lotpot-retweets

Even Times of India wrote an article claiming it was dynamite sticks based on ANI News report and then had to later delete their report. The original URL to their report was => http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Massive-fire-at-Paravur-Puttingal-temple-in-Kerala/liveblog/51761690.cm

One particular twitter account posted a series of inflammatory tweets and then deleted the account later.

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This is how the right wing rumour mills roll. Question that needs to be asked is, without any forensics reports whatsoever, how did ANI News conclude that those crackers were dynamite sticks? Just because they look big and frightening? If that indeed is the case, it is shameful journalism.

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