“BJP, KSU workers protest near Kerala Secretariat against Kerala health minister over the issue of growing incidence of Chikunguniya cases” said the Times Now tweet. The Times Now video on Youtube had a “First on Times Now” watermark running across this “Exclusive” story. The story gave details about the rise of deaths due to viral diseases and the deteriorating state of health sector in Kerala. The on-screen text informed the viewers of “total travesty in Kerala, people protest government apathy, but Kerala cops thrash them, force used to disperse people.” The video showed images of protests and injuries sustained by “BJP workers”.
— TIMES NOW (@TimesNow) July 3, 2017
The video has now been deleted from YouTube by Times Now channel. The URL of the deleted video was https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5urcKw0gfw. A cached version of the youtube link can be seen here. The same video can be found on another site called Zenga TV and can be seen here.
It turned out that the above video was of Kerala Students Union (KSU) students protesting against fee hike. KSU is the Kerala branch of NSUI, the student wing of the Indian National Congress. You can read more about the protests on the Facebook page of KSU.
The video where Times Now claimed that BJP workers were injured in the police lathicharge was also shared by ANI, which described it as “students protest against fee hike, injured during police lathicharge.”
As reported by ANI, “Several students were injured after the Kerala Police baton charged students protesting against the fee hike in medical courses in Thiruvananthapuram on Monday. The student union organised a protest march to Kerala Health Minister K.K. Shailaja’s residence.” The same video has been shared by Times Now as one of protesting BJP workers injured by police lathicharge.
You can view below screenshots from the ANI video and the Times Now “exclusive” which claims “first on Times Now”. The same protest by Kerala Students Union (KSU) students against fee hike that has been presented by Times Now as a BJP protest against deteriorating health sector in Kerala. The injured KSU students have been depicted as BJP workers thrashed by Kerala cops.
While the ANI video talks of student protest against fee hike, its tweet is misleading as it also makes a mention of BJP workers. The video however is of KSU as its blue flags and arm bands are visible in the video.
Thiruvananthapuram: BJP workers protest against Health minister of Kerala over fever deaths, clash with Police pic.twitter.com/vgFZcxKOeY
— ANI (@ANI_news) July 3, 2017
As confirmed by several media reports, the protest was initiated by Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president, M.M Hassan and organised by KSU. The protesters marched to the residence of Kerala health minister to protest against the hike in fee of the self financed medical colleges. KSU had announced this protest against the fee hike in the last week of june. No video other than the one played by Times Now claimed it to be a BJP protest with injuries to BJP workers. The story remains not just a “first” on Times Now but also an “only” on Times Now.
With RSS and BJP working hard to gain a foothold in Kerala, one needs to be wary of news reported from Kerala by crony channels and Hindutva websites. It is ironic that the Times Now used the word “travesty” in their video to describe the situation in Kerala. Their own news report passing off video of a student protest as BJP workers thrashed by Kerala police is a travesty of journalism.