The incident in which a student of the Thiruvananthapuram University College was stabbed by the college's SFI unit members last Friday continue to occupy the front pages of Malayalam newspapers in the state of Kerala. And one such news regarding the issue which appeared on the front page of a popular Malayalam daily has created a buzz on social media.
Mathrabhumi, a popular Malayalam daily, on Tuesday reported that answer sheets were seized from the student’s union office of the Student’s Federation of India (SFI) at the University College. However, the picture accompanying the story was that of a registration form for a youth festival.
A major mistake, which even the paper had later admitted was a goof up. However, this image was shared on social media and many branded the paper as spreading fake news against the Left leaning student’s group.
Various posts started doing the rounds on Twitter and Facebook carrying an image of the Mathrubhumi news stating that reporters at the newspaper cannot differentiate between an answer sheet and a registration form of a youth festival.
Later in the day, Mathrubhumi news channel had carried a clarification regarding the incident where they admitted to the fact they had printed the wrong image in the newspaper and that they regret it. However, the channel also said that they have visuals of the bundles of answer sheets which were seized from the SFI office by the police and aired pictures of these sheets which were alleged to have been seized from the office.
“It is not fair to brand us by stating that we are spreading fake news just because of a single mistake we made. As far as the University College incident is concerned, Mathrabhumi stands with the general public and with our readers,” stated Mathrabhumi.
Not just Mathrubhumi, other major news channels in Kerala too said that their reporters had the visuals of answer sheets seized from the SFI office, and a wrong image published on the newspaper was being used to deem the whole story as fake.
Officials deny seizure of answer sheets from office
However, a major twist came in when KK Suma, Additional Director of Collegiate Education, on Tuesday told the media that she did not find any answer sheets from the union office during her inspection.
“I had got permission to inspect the union office after the police had completely verified the room. And till the time I got out of the room, I did not find any answer sheets. There is a mystery if answer sheets were found after that,” she stated.
Aadhithya R IPS, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Law & Order, denied the reports that answer sheets were seized. "We have taken answer sheets from the house of the accused Sivaranjith (SFI Unit president). Someone has reported it wrongly as seized from the SFI office and then everyone carried it. We've been getting calls regarding this for a long time. We haven't recovered any answer sheet from the office," he said.
Mathrabhumi wasn’t the only paper to have stated the fact that answer sheets were seized from the union office. Deshabhimani newspaper, the mouthpiece of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) had also carried a front page news piece in which they had stated the police seized bundles of answer sheets and the seal of the teacher from the union office.