“#बुलंदशहर_इज्तेमा के बवाल के बाद कई स्कूलों में बच्चे फँसे है, रो रहे है, लोग जंगल में है, घरों के दरवाज़े बंद कर के लोग सहमे हूए है- सुदर्शन से लाईव बातचीत में स्थानीय लोग। #बुलंदशहर_में_बवाल @SudarshanNewsTV पर लाईव “(In the unrest following the Bulandshahr Ijtema, children are stuck in schools and crying, people are in the forest, they have shut the doors of their homes- residents in live conversation with Sudarshan- translated). This message was tweeted by Suresh Chavhanke, the editor-in-chief of Sudarshan News. Tablighi Ijtema is a three day Islamic gathering that took place at Bulandshahr in Uttar Pradesh from December 1-3. On December 3, a cop was killed after a mob protesting alleged illegal cow slaughter clashed with the police in Siana tehsil of Bulandshahr district. By prefacing the tweet with “बुलंदशहर_इज्तेमा के बवाल” (Unrest after Bulandshahr Ijtema – translated), Sudarshan News suggested that the Ijtema was somehow linked with the violence in which the cop was killed.

Chavhanke was referring to the violence that broke out in Bulandshahr on December 3 over rumours of cow slaughter. A police inspector was killed in the melee as gaurakshaks went on a rampage, targeting vehicles and state property. Chavhanke has linked the violence that took place at Bulandshahr to the Ijtema congregation. In another tweet, Chavhanke has referred to the ‘Tablighi Jamaat’ as the organiser of the Ijtema, adding that it is on the radar of security agencies.

In fact, Sudarshan News also broadcast a programme on prime time on December 2. Chavhanke in his tweet on the same day referred to the Ijtema gathering as a ruse for ‘show of strength’.

Clarification by Bulandshahr police

Bulandshahr police has clarified via twitter that the violence which shook the town is NOT related in any way to the Ijtema gathering. Replying to Chavhanke’s tweet, police has appealed not to spread misinformation about the violence.

In the above tweet, Bulandshahr police has stated that the violence took place about 45-50 kilometres from the place where the Ijtema was held, adding that investigation is currently underway.

It may be noted that the Ijtema congregation was held at a locality called Dariyapur, whereas the incident of violence in which a police inspector was killed, occurred in Chingrawati village in Siyana. Using Google Maps, Alt News found that the distance between the two places is roughly 49 kilometres, which corresponds to the police’s assertion that the violence took place 45-50 kilometres away from the Ijtema gathering.

Earlier in July 2018, Sudarshan News had spread disinformation about a decree which was allegedly passed by a mosque in UP against the state police. Reporting of this nature adds fuel to the fire and vitiates inter-faith relations which are already under strain.

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About the Author

Arjun Sidharth is a writer with Alt News. He has previously worked in the television news industry, where he managed news bulletins and breaking news scenarios, apart from scripting numerous prime time television stories. He has also been actively involved with various freelance projects. Sidharth has studied economics, political science, international relations and journalism. He has a keen interest in books, movies, music, sports, politics, foreign policy, history and economics. His hobbies include reading, watching movies and indoor gaming.