Ex-Tehelka ‘Journalist’ Fakes RTI Reply to Claim Government Discriminates Against Muslims

Yet another media hit-job on the NDA Government, this time by an ex-Tehelka ‘journalist’ writing for Milli Gazette (which claims to be ‘Indian Muslim’s leading newspaper’), got exposed today. The reporter Pushp Sharma had filed an RTI query about the Muslim teachers and trainers recruited by the AYUSH  Ministry for foreign assignments during the World Yoga Day last year. AYUSH is the abbreviation of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy. He claimed that AYUSH Ministry’s reply contained an ‘Annexure -1′ with the statement “As per government policy – No Muslim candidate was invited, selected or sent abroad’.

But the Ministry of AYUSH has issued a categorical statement that the ‘Annexure 1’ claimed by Pushp Sharma is fabricated. Below are the relevant excerpts from the statement issued by Ministry of AYUSH

 Clarification regarding RTI of Shri Pushp Sharma

The Ministry of AYUSH has noted with anguish certain mischievous misinformation being spread in certain section of media and Social media quoting a reply to an RTI by mentioning a fabricated draft as Annexure I to that letter, which has never been issued by the Ministry of AYUSH or any of its agencies.

The Ministry strongly condemns this piece of misreporting, clearly aimed at causing chasm between different sections of Society and promoting disharmony and mistrust with ulterior motives. The ministry further clarifies that RTI request dated 17.09.2015 was received in the Ministry, from one Shri Pushp Sharma…

..On receipt of the query, Ministry forwarded this RTI request to its three agencies namely Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga, Central Council for Research in Yoga and Naturopathy and International Cooperation wing of the Ministry vide letter dated 08.10.2015. This is a simple forwarding letter under section 6(3) of RTI Act and therefore does not contain any reply to the queries. The same forwarding letter of the Ministry has been used by a section of the media in this matter, but with a non-existent, fictitious“ANNEXURE- I”, (which has never been issued by the Ministry).

The contents regarding religion based data in the so-called Annexure- I are not only fabricated but factually incorrect also. The response of the International Cooperation Section of the Ministry clearly said that invitations were sent to yoga experts/enthusiasts without reference to their religions. Replies sent to the applicant by MDNIY, CCRYN are also enclosed for ready reference.

The Ministry is initiating appropriate action in the matter.”

Media outlets ignore basic fact checking 

AYUSH Media Lies
Various media outlets propagating the fake news created by Milli Gazette

The usual suspects in media eagerly repeated this piece of ‘investigative journalism’ by Pushp Sharma without adhering to basics of journalism like validating the veracity of the RTI reply by contacting the AYUSH minsitry for their view. The confirmation bias to prove their projection of Modi as a ruthless fascist dictator is driving many big names in media over the edge into outright illegal acts like slander, fabrication of news & fanning communal sentiments. Some prominent outlets and celebrity ‘journalists’ who were brutally exposed today were –

1.) The Wire – one of the breed of plush with funds new digital media outlets that have cropped up in the last 18 months, but which are managed  by the same old tired, largely discredited mainstream media voices. Others in this category are Scroll, Catchnews, and Qz. The one common factor that binds these outlets together is their visceral anti-Hindu and anti-Modi bigtory.

2.) The Wire was founded by Siddartha Vardarajan, a US citizen and controversial ex-editor of left-wing newspaper The Hindu who resigned in 2013 after even the anti-Hindutva family owners of The Hindu became uncomfortable with Vardarajan’s blatant anti-Modi bias. Beside running The Wire, Vardarajan these days also runs a weekly news show and is a prominent face on talk shows for RSTV (Rajya Sabha TV) – a public news channel managed by the Rajya Sabha speaker’s office (currently Deputy President Hamid Ansari).

3.) Samar Halarnkar (former Hindustan Times’s national editor, current columnist with the same paper & editor of IndiaSpend.com) was also quick to propagate the fake news story. This same gentleman has been accused of plagiarism in the past, and is a well known Modi-baiter.

AYUSH false news

AAP mouthpiece Janta Ka Reporter also predictably joined in spreading the spurious news item.

Criminal antecedents of  ex-Tehelka ‘journalist’ Pushp Sharma

It has now emerged that ‘investigative journalist’ Pushp Sharma was arrested for fake stings and blackmail in 2009 by the Delhi police. Read this police report titled ‘Extortionist reporter alongwith associates, who used to extort govt. officials on the pretext of conducting fake sting operations arrested’. Incidentally, Pushp Sharma previously worked with the ideological fountainhead of dubious ‘sting journalism’ – Tehelka (founded by rape-accused Tarun Tejpal). It is not surprising that junior reporters like Sharma have such poor journalistic ethics when senior Tehelka journalists like Ashish Khetan (now an AAP leader) have been accused of writing a planted story for Tehelka in defence of the Essar Company as a quid pro quo for several crores sponsorship by Essar for the Tehelka ‘Thinkfest’ event at Goa.

Final Blow To The Fake Story – AYUSH Ministry does have Muslim employees!

But, sadly such false media narrative do find some buyers even among educated citizens. The media antipathy for Hindus and consequent silence over Islamist and Christian extremism ends up dividing society by giving rise to false victim-hood in minorities.