New-age leftist propaganda outlets like to portray themselves as virtuous fighters of misinformation that spreads on WhatsApp, but it turns out that their own journalists seem to be spreading the most fake news.
The Print’s Zainab Sikander today hinted that the Kumbh Mela, the Hindu gathering that takes place once every 12 years, should be called a Covid hotspot. “The kumbh mela will never be called a covid hotspot. The devotees at the kumbh mela will never be called superspreaders. The bias cannot get more stark,” she wrote on Twitter. To buttress her point, she added an image of the Kumbh which showed a massive gathering.
The photo indeed showed a mass gathering, and could’ve led people to wonder why such so many people were being allowed at the Kumbh mela, which has been running for a week at Haridwar.
But as it turns out, Zainab Sikander had cleverly tried to mislead her followers, and spread Hindu hatred. As first shown by Twitter user BefittingFacts, the photo that Zainab Sikander had shared was from January 2019. Back then, there was no coronavirus, and the event had been carried out in its full glory.
Things are different at this year’s Kumbh. Far from having massive crowds, there have been so few visitors that saints are worried. “Low devotee footfall worries seers,” was the headline of a Times of India report today.
Also, the Kumbh is following all stipulated coronavirus protocols. Opening the official website of the Kumbh first first prompts devotees to what the SOPs issued by the Central government and the State government are to safely conduct the Kumbh.
All this was in stark contrast to the way Tablighi Jamaat members had behaved during Covid last year. These members, in spite of the announcement from the authorities, had refused to vacate the Markaz at the peak of Covid, which had required National Security Advisor Ajit Doval to intervene and finally get the premises vacated. While vacating the premises, the Tablighi Jamat members had begun spitting out of the buses they were being transported in, causing a major health scare and forcing authorities to close the windows. While being transported in trains, they had begun spitting on doctors, causing the railways to release an official statement. Their behaviour had become progressively worse — in Delhi, Tablighi Jamat members had thrown a bottle of urine at sanitation staff, and an FIR had been filed. In Hyderabad, when a Tablighi Jamat member had died from the disease, his relatives had beaten up the doctors on duty, causing them to protest and go on strike. In Tamil Nadu, a Tablighi Jamat attendee had been booked by the police after he spat on a nurse. In Delhi, Tablighi Jamat members had attacked the doctors and nurses on duty, causing them to hide in a room to save themselves. Things were so bad at one point that Tablighi Jamat members had accounted for an astounding 65% of all cases in India.
Yet Zainab Sikander seemed to compare the justifiable dubbing of the Tablighi Jamat as ‘superspreaders’ to the Kumbh mela, which is taking place while following all official procedures and is seeing low turnout. But to make her hateful point, she used a picture from 2019 to spread the impression that the event was breaking Covid guidelines. This casual Hindu hate is dangerous, and becomes doubly dangerous when leftist propaganda outlets like the Print give such bigots a platform to amplify their hate.