Alleged Rape of a 28 Days old Baby in India , Sigh of Inhumanity , The Other side of the Story and Journalism Standards….

Posted: December 9, 2015 in Uncategorized

Reports of rape of a 28 days old baby in village Khurja Nagar near Bulandshahr by a 25 year old man hit the national headlines two days ago. It went Viral on social media with news on every platform shared by thousands and lacs of people and read by millions. Obvious reactions to the report were – This is the lowest humanity could stoop to, This is Inhuman, What kind of world are we living in, Hang the Rapist and more……People were disgusted, felt their stomach churn with the news and could not believe what they were reading about. The News reports were so chilling that it would make anyone respond like that.

23956-there-are-always-two-sides-to-a-story-unless-youve-heard

However, only if the Journalist who reported the news first had done basic investigation and verification of report, the hysteria could be prevented. If the viral media platforms – who perhaps only reproduce these reports without any journalistic efforts – could have just picked up the phone and called a number or two to verify the report , India would not have been shamed one more time and we would have had a better sense of what happened.

But………..

So, It took me just 10 minutes to call up the SP Office Bulandshahar first and then SHO Khurja Nagar to know more about the incident. I spoke to Mr. R K Sharma who shared some crucial details about the incident. Here is what he told me –

“The injuries on the child’s vagina were of nature that can happen even because of wiping with a cloth (news reports said profuse bleeding.) Medical Reports have ruled out any rape. No penetrative assault has happened at all. Now a medical board has been formed to look into the case but initial reports do not suggest any crime as alleged. We are investigating the case very closely and will take actions if anything as alleged has happened. We have been informed by the villagers that the father of the child had made allegations of rape on his wife by another man in the village a year ago and taken money to strike a compromise. It was a false case and now also villagers and neighbors of the complainant themselves are saying nothing like that has happened. Statement of the complainant have been contradictory as in the FIR they stated that they went to vote when the crime happened while to the doctor, the mother said she had bathed the baby and left her in the open on the roof and gone downstairs when the assault happened and she saw the accused man escaping.”

Reports by mainstream media have been on the statement of the parents to the police in which they have said they went out to vote when the assault happened. I asked the police officer on what did the parents say about leaving such a small kid at home and who did they leave behind to take care of her (it was the most important question that came in my mind when i read the reports) , to which he replied “They haven’t mentioned anything. Apparently the baby was left alone when they went as they have not mentioned any name as to who was taking care of the child when they went out to vote. Their statement to the doctor is different.”

I asked the officer what could be the possible motivation of the parents to have made such a heinous allegation if it did not happen. He said “These are election times and there are lot of conflicts that happen because of it. We have been told that the accused had a fight with the complainant over who to vote. Our investigations are on right now and we are looking at the case from all the angles. Strict action would be taken against the culprit if allegations are true.”

Having heard the side that was perhaps not reported by most of the media outlets, let’s look at different reports on the same incident.

The News story was first reported by PTI and said the baby has been allegedly raped – http://www.ibnlive.com/…/28-days-old-baby-allegedly-raped-i…

What was an alleged rape was confirmed as rape in the process of the news being shared – http://www.indiatimes.com/…/a-28-day-old-baby-was-raped-by-… Last lines of this report from Indiatimes were “Next time you talk about the direction of human evolution highway, maybe this incident will be one of the roadside wrecks your conciense will mention,” though the report did not have any additional inputs from anywhere on the story!

If that was not enough, this website went ahead , picked a representational image from internet and wrote “I am 28-Days-Old and a Rape Victim” without caring much that the child shown in the image is actually someone’s child http://beingindian.com/28-day-old-infant-raped-by-a-25-year…

The initial reports (PTI report essentially) named the mas as Namino (25) but this report from Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/…/articlesh…/50068065.cms had a completely different name and age of the alleged accused. It mentions the accused as a 20 year old Naveen Jatav. I would credit this journalist for having mentioned the submission of police about inconsistencies in the statement of the mother and father, vendetta as possible reason behind the complaint and the fact that doctors have ruled out rape. However no one in the media reproduced this version but the PTI one – even though this report came on December 6th, while the reports citing PTI news as source came only on December 7th. It was perhaps easy to just share the reports and leave it over there….

The reports have now reached International Media and India would be condemned , shamed and looked down upon once again for lowest of lows in Humanity because of an incident that probably has not even happened. http://www.khaleejtimes.com/…/shocking-28-day-old-baby-rape…

Attention of the world is likely to be drawn on India just like few days ago when an unverified report of khap panchayat ordering gang rape of two girls because their brother had an affair with a married woman in the village, went Viral. No one went on ground to know what had happened. No one bothered to ask even the basic question of when had the Panchayat convened, where, which date, who all were the members and what was the order. The entire story was based on a petition submitted by the girls and no one felt the need to dig the story further and know the story from all the sides. After the initial reports and hysteria, Amnesty International took it upon themselves to save the girls and started an online petition which got lacs of signatures from who’s who of the world with many leaders in the world expressing their shock over such a disgusting diktat. Not until the BBC UK sent a reporter to investigate the matter on ground did the other side of the story even surface. Few reports by Indian media followed after, questioning if thePanchayat had actually ordered anything like that! After the BBC report, Amnesty accepted that they did not verify the report at all before starting the petition. The organisation still hosts a link on its site , crediting their signature campaign for the success and getting girls the needed police protection. http://www.amnesty.org.uk/india-dalit-sisters-protection-ra…

Only if it was needed on grounds of verified truth!

If I go by my experience in these cases, it is my assumption that the girls petitioned for their safety and alleged order of gang rape by Khap in a bid to save their own brother. it is pretty evident from the BBC report that the brother of these girls and the married woman had an affair and everyone in the village knew about it. Since the couple allegedly eloped and then were brought back to the village, it could be that the woman’s family would have filed rape charges on the man. Before anything like that would have happened, reports of petition of girls made National Headlines and what happened after is known to all……

My assumption isn’t without any evidence. A report by The Hindu cites how 40% of the fully tried rape cases in Delhi courts are cases of willing elopement of the girl and the boy and when they return, a case of rape is filed on the boy by girls parents (http://www.thehindu.com/…/the-many-shade…/article6261882.ece) This article where a Judge comes down heavily on such cases reveal the disturbing trend. (http://www.ibnlive.com/…/girls-caught-with-lovers-filing-fa…)

While I make an assumption, I am stating it as an assumption. I am not stating it as the truth. But the reports today that come in India, particularly related to crime against women are least investigated and verified and mostly reported as if that’s the only truth. The readers are not informed about most important facts of the case neither the Journalist makes an attempt to speak to several sources about the story, forget about the accused. Many times, the FIR is reproduced as news – which is nothing but the complainant’s side of the version. Whether the report is true or not, the name and face of the accused is printed and he is shamed on national media. No one thinks about the impact of that report/alleged crime on the accused in case he is innocent. Acquittals in cases of Crime Against Women are rarely reported and even if reported, are hidden somewhere on the last pages while the alleged crime is reported on the front.

This plea by a man asking Supreme Court of India to “return his dignity” after he was found innocent in a rape case speaks volumes about situation of people who are punished and held guilty for a crime they have not committed. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/…/articlesh…/18898781.cms

In the end, I would just repeat this quote by an anonymous author which applies to me as well as anyone in the field of Journalism – “Beware of the Half Truth. You may have gotten hold of the wrong half”

Image Source: Insipirably.com

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Comments
  1. imnindian says:

    Why bother with fact checking when you can get more eyeballs without doing any real work?
    Does not matter, If the nation suffers on the world stage. Does not matter, lives of innocent people are ruined.

    Welcome to the world of new age journalism!!

  2. The parents and media should be punished for cooking up this story. Media has once again proved that 90% Indians are indeed idiots

  3. […] her report: Alleged Rape of a 28 Days old Baby in India, Sigh of Inhumanity , The Other side of the Story and Journalism […]

  4. Donkey1995 says:

    Really? Parents will file false rape cases and possibly ruin their daughter’s image to get back at a man due to election issues? You are the one who is in need of journalist integrity. Funny thing is that you did not even provide any proof of a report or anything. I never knew MRAs will stoop so low!

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