Following the grisly murder of tailor Kanhaiya Lal in Rajasthan’s Udaipur, the police arrested two men from the Bhima area in the Rajsamand district. The accused have been identified as Mohammad Riaz and Ghaus Mohammad. The accused recorded the heinous crime on camera and called it “vengeance” against BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma’s controversial remarks on the Prophet of Islam.

On July 1, Zee News aired a video of Rahul Gandhi and claimed that he referred to the accused in the Udaipur murder as “children”. The channel also tweeted the footage, but later deleted the post. In the clip, anchor Rohit Ranjan can be heard saying, “People from all corners of the country feel this crime is barbaric, wrong, and the accused should receive a severe punishment. Being the senior-most leader of the opposition, Rahul Gandhi’s words matter a lot. But what message does it send if Rahul Gandhi himself is calling the accused ‘children’? Was Kanhaiya’s murderer, someone who killed him so brutally, a child?”

Several BJP leaders, journalists, and social media users amplified the video, criticising Gandhi. Most of these people promoted the claim while sharing the Zee News clip.

Kannauj BJP MP Subrata Pathak tweeted a video of Rahul Gandhi claiming that he called the accused “children” who somehow mistakenly committed a murder. (Archive link)

In a now-deleted tweet, former Union Minister and BJP leader Rajvardhan Rathore also shared the video claiming that Rahul Gandhi had called terrorists “children”.

MLA Kamlesh Saini, from Bijnor district’s Chandpur constituency, made the same claim while tweeting the video. (Archive link)

Those who circulated the video also included BJP spokesperson Ajay Sehrawat, BJP supporter Abhijit Iyer-Mitra, Himanshu Mishra, Sagar Kumar of Sudarshan News, Zee Rajasthan anchor Qamar, and Nishant Azad, who is affiliated with RSS mouthpiece Organizer, among others.

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Fact-check

Alt News noticed that Congress leaders were insisting that the viral claim was fake. Many users replied to the viral tweets stating that Rahul Gandhi was actually referring to those who vandalised the Congress office in Kerala as “children”.

Taking a closer look at the viral video, we saw a mic belonging to the news agency ANI. When we searched through ANI’s tweets, we found a frame from the same video. In this clip, Rahul Gandhi was giving a statement on an incident of vandalism at his Wayanad office.

Mics from a few regional media outlets are also visible in the viral clip. We performed a search on YouTube by translating some keywords related to Rahul Gandhi and his office into Malayalam. This led us to the full-length video on Manorama News’s YouTube channel. The Congress leader is saying that the young men who vandalized his office were “children”. He added that the boys acted irresponsibly and that what happened was unfortunate.

To sum it up, Zee News falsely claimed that Rahul Gandhi called the Udaipur murderers “children”. Following this, a number of BJP leaders, journalists, and social media users amplified the claim on social media. In reality, Rahul Gandhi was actually referring to the young men who vandalized his party’s office in Wayanad. Workers representing student organization SFI were allegedly behind the attack on the Congress office.

Zee News acknowledged the error after Alt News Hindi published an article debunking the claim.

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About the Author

Abhishek is a journalist at Alt News.