On December 11, Dainik Bhaskar published a story titled, “नागरिकता बिल / ज्योतिरादित्य सिंधिया ने समर्थन किया; बोले- यह संविधान के विपरीत, लेकिन भारतीय संस्कृति के अनुरूप (Citizenship Bill / Jyotiraditya Scindia supports; says-this is against the constitution but in accordance with the Indian culture -translated)”. It initially reported, “कांग्रेस नेता ज्योतिरादित्य सिंधिया ने नागरिकता संशाेधन बिल का समर्थन किया है। इंदौर में बुधवार को सिंधिया ने कहा- यह बिल संविधान के विपरीत होना अलग बात है, लेकिन यह भारत की सभ्यता और वसुधैव कुटुंबकम् की विचारधारा के अनुरूप है। (Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia has supported the Citizenship Amendment Bill. In Indore, he said -It is a different matter the bill against the constitution but this is in line with the India culture and ideology of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam -translated)”

Screenshot of the archived version

The article was updated after a report by fact-checking outlet BoomLive. Now, the headline of the significantly updated article reads, “ज्योतिरादित्य सिंधिया का ट्वीट: नागरिकता संशोधन बिल संस्कृति और संविधान के विपरीत (Jyotiraditya Scindia’s tweet: Citizenship Amendment Bill is against the constitution and culture -translated)” It states that Jyotiraditya Scindia has kept his opinion on the bill.

However, interestingly, the initial report is available on the English news website of the Dainik Bhaskar group without the changes that were made to the Hindi report. The report published by DBPost reads, “Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia has supported the Citizenship Amendment Bill. In Indore on Wednesday, Scindia said- This bill is against Constitution, it is a different thing to be contrary to the constitution, but it is in accordance with the civilization of India and the ideology of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’.”

Right-leaning website Swarajya published an article while citing the Dainik Bhaskar report and said, “In a major embarrassment for the Congress party, its senior party leader and former union minister Jyotiraditya Scindia has supported the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB), Dainik Bhaskar has reported.”

Hindi Newspaper Amar Ujala also published a report with the headline, “सिंधिया ने फिर की ‘बगावत’, 370 के बाद नागरिकता विधेयक का किया समर्थन (Scindia rebels again, after [article] 370, supports Citizenship Amendment -translated)”.

Scindia said the opposite

With a keyword search on YouTube, Alt News found the video footage of Scindia’s statement on December 11, 2019. Here, it is evident that contrary to the aforementioned media reports, Scindia was actually opposing the Citizenship Amendment Bill.

At 44 seconds in the above video, when asked about his opinion CAB, he can be heard saying, “Not only Congress, many other parties are opposing. See the situation on the ground in North-eastern states, you see the situation in several other states. The founder of our constitution Babasaheb Ambedkar had always said while writing the constitution that no one will be seen with the prism that is based on their caste, creed or religion. People will be seen as an Indian citizen. Always in history, don’t only talk about democracy, from 3000-4000 years this land of ‘Bharat Mata’ has always accepted everyone. (translated)”

He then goes on to say, “‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (The world is one family)- this is India’s speciality. And the bill that has been brought today and which was put forward yesterday. I believe India’s ideology and civilization is to take everyone along. It’s in the bill that is on the basis of religion and state. It has happened before on the basis of the country but it has never happened on the basis of religion before. I think that it’s a different matter that it’s against the constitution but it’s not also on the basis of our Indian culture. (-translated)”

His verbatim statement in Hindi can be read here:“केवल कांग्रेस नहीं, बहुत सारी पार्टियां विरोध कर रही है और सड़क पे उत्तर पूर्वी राज्यों में आप स्थिति देखिये, देश के अनेक राज्यों में आप स्थिति देखिये | हमारे संविधान के निर्माता बाबासाहेब आंबेडकर ने सदैव कहा था…संविधान लिखने के समय में की न जात, पात और न धर्म के आधार पर किसी को उस दृष्टिकोण से देखा जाएगा | भारतीय नागरिक के रूप में देखा जाएगा | सदैव इतिहास में, केवल प्रजातंत्र की बात मत करो आप, 3,000-4,000 सालों से इस भारत माता की माटी में सभी को अपनाया है | वसुधैव कुटुंबकम – यही भारत की विशेषता रही है पूरे विश्व में और जो अध्यादेश आज लाया जा रहा है, कल लाया गया था, मैं मानता हूँ की जो भारत की विचारधारा है, जो सभ्यता है, की सभी को साथ में लेक चलना है | जो अध्यादेश में भी है की धर्म और राज्य के आधार पर… देशों के आधार पर पूर्व भी हुआ है पर धर्म के आधार पर कभी भी पूर्व में नहीं हुआ | मैं मानता हूँ की संविधान के विपरीत बात अलग है पर हमारी भारतीय संस्कृति जो है इसके आधार पर नहीं है।”

Scindia had tweeted along similar lines while opposing the bill on December 11, 2019.

It may be noted that Swarjaya has not updated its report despite its source updating the article. The Amar Ujala report is also unchanged.

In conclusion, media outlets misquoted Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia’s statement and claimed that he rebelled against his party and supported the Citizenship Amendment Bill, which was passed by both houses of the Parliament. The Congress voted against CAB. In the recent past, Scindia has taken contrarian positions to that of the official line of the Congress party. Recently, he welcomed the encounter of alleged rapists in the Hyderabad gang-rape and murder case and later deleted his tweet. Earlier, Scindia had backed the government’s move on repealing the provisions of article 370 while questioning the constitutional process that was followed.

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About the Author

Jignesh is a writer and researcher at Alt News. He has a knack for visual investigation with a major interest in fact-checking videos and images. He has completed his Masters in Journalism from Gujarat University.