Yesterday, ANI reported that 11 Bajrang Dal activists in Bengal “were arrested for their alleged involvement in the murder of BJP workers”. The report also stated that the “accused” had been taken to Murshidabad but does not provide an official quote or a source on which the story is based. It did cite family members of those arrested, who stated that they were being falsely implicated.
The story was not picked up by any other media except ANI. Newslaundry reached out to ANI and was informed that the story was pulled down owing to an “error in assessment”. We were told that the editorial team mixed up two stories. The arrest of the Bajrang Dal activists was in connection with Ram Navami violence in the state and not the gruesome murders of Bharatiya Janata Party workers. We were also informed that ANI told their clients about the error, which is why TOI may have pulled down the story. Be that as it may, given the gravity of the cases, ANI should have offered an explanation on social media and their website. As things stand now, the false story is still being read on at least two web platforms.