Home / Expose / Judge, Jury and Executioner : TimesNow story on alleged conversion is black spot on Journalism

Judge, Jury and Executioner : TimesNow story on alleged conversion is black spot on Journalism

English news channel Times Now whose TRP rating seemed to be affected after Arnab Goswami launched his own venture Republic TV was happy till yesterday after getting back on TRP ratings.

But that ‘joy’ did not last for long after Alt News exposed their ‘bad homework’ on a Prime Time show alleging ‘ISIS Nexus in Kerala converting Hindus boys and girls for Jihad’, they vehemently claimed ‘ Your (Hindus)  faith is on sale’ pointing at a leaflet which come out as fake.

Screen shot grabbed from the Prime Time show

Times Now used the hashtag #CaliphateConvertsHindus to tweet various aspects of this story. They also tweeted the denominations in the rate card poster, a screenshot of which can be seen below.

Alt News exposed how insidious this story was and totally unprofessional journalism by Times Now. The alleged conversion leaflet with rate tag that has been displayed by Times Now has been making the rounds of WhatsApp and other forms of social media for time immemorial now and can be seen below.

This image has also been circulated by various fake news sites like Hindutva.Info, Jagruk Bharat and Hindu Existence in February 2016.

The oldest version of this black-and-white image is available on a website called ‘Bare Naked Islam’ in a post published on 20th September 2014. When this poster became viral in 2014, ABP News had debunked it by analysing the websites and the addresses mentioned in the poster.

Saamana, which has come to be known as Shiv Sena’s mouthpiece, had published this story sometime in late 2010 on Page 6 of their newspaper.

 

Screen shot of Samana news paper (image : Alt News)

The earliest version of this story is on a blog called ‘Sikh and Islam’ published on Feb 5, 2010. This blog has exactly one post and the original coloured version of the black-and-white image that Times Now showed was initially posted here.

The earliest available image which claims conversion price tag (Image: Alt News)

Times Now unjust trial of Judge, Jury and Executioner

Times Now journalist Nikhil Joshi  interviewed a girl whom the channel claimed was victim of ISIS radicalisation and some how escaped from their clutches, the channel shows the interview of the girl’s mother.

She talks about her daughter joining a coaching class, Wisdom International Academy, and observing changes in her — like going for long walks and talking on the phone. She says she overheard those conversations and suggests that her daughter was asked to convert to Islam, learn Syrian (Arabic, presumably) and read Quran. The mother also claim she had consulted a psychiatrist to de-radicalise her.

Times Now anchor Ravi Shivshankar takes this as proof of Wisdom International Academy being the hub of conversion in Kasargod “where they force you to pick up Quran” without verifying the fact.

Newslaundry claims they were told by one of Wisdom Academic Directors, Mohammed Yunus T A, that Times Now’s story is baseless. “We offer Science coaching to +1 and +2 students. We have about 120 students and many of them are non-Muslims. Half of our faculty is also non-Muslim. This girl was in our coaching centre for about 22 days. The police has investigated the claims of her mother and found nothing. You can come here and see, we operate in a public space. There is no question of things like conversion.

In a petition to the Chief Minister, Mohammed has alleged that the girl’s mother “knew that her daughter was in a relationship with someone but deliberately tried to establish that it happened after she joined our classes to malign our institution”.

He says, “She not only used her daughter’s relationship to destroy us but also alleged that our institution has connections with ISIS – an outfit hated by humankind. Police’s preliminary investigation has revealed that we have no connections with ISIS or religious conversions. Hence I request that an enquiry be done…” Newslaundry reported.

Newslaundry also reports that Circle Inspector (Kasargod) Abdul Rahim, who is investigating the case based on the mother’s complaint has said that he could not disclose the details but asserted that there is no “ISIS angle to the case”.

Newslaundry raised very important question on TimesNow unethical journalism, Why did it not seek out the version of the academy, the police circle officer and the counsellor? On what basis did it extrapolate the testimony of one woman to talk about an organised ISIS racket in the state? How did it link an old WhatsApp message to the story about the mother’s police complaint?

Times Now tried to defend their bad homework with another lie

After Alt News exposed the reality about the alleged leaflet claimed as proof for price tags for converting Hindus, they come up to defend it by claiming it wasn’t the ‘backbone evidence’ on their part of investigation exposing the growing ISIS nexus in Kerala, instead accused Alt News of ‘mischievous attempt’.

However if you watch the show, they showed the leaflet as evidence on price tag for conversion throughout the show on ticker, the anchor even slammed Kerala’s CPI-M leader Fuad Halim when he asked the authenticity of their claim by saying “there are addresses here, what stops the state government to act” while holding the fake leaflet print out.

The fact is, Times Now began their show by announcing Live on twitter by showing the fake leaflet as alleged evidence for price on conversion.

Rahul Shivshankar described how a price has been put on one’s faith, the screen showed various denominations ranging from 7 lakhs to 1 lakhs assigned to women from different religions/sub-castes/sects. Throwing his hands up in disgust, Rahul Shivshankar further said, “I can’t even begin to tell you ladies and gentlemen the kind of insidious fine print that is on this rate card, to convert Hindus, caste Brahmins, you have to pay five lakhs, you get paid five lakhs ladies and gentlemen. A Hindu Brahmin girl – five lakhs, seven lakh rupees for a Sikh Punjabi gal, for a Gujarati Brahmin and so on and so forth, Hindu Khastriya gal – four and a half lakhs, Hindu OBC/SC/ST – two lakhs, Buddhist girl – one and a half lakh, a Jain girl 3 lakh rupees, the caliphate has put a price on your faith.

Instead of apologising on their serious mistake, Times Now proved lack of Journalistic Ethics by accusing the Alt News of committing mischief. We are yet to come to a conclusion why Times Now ran this fake story without any authentic proof or based on one side story.

Sources Alt News, Newslaundry

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