News18 India Might Face Defamation Case For Peddling Fake News About Injured Jamia Student
Shadab Farooq, a first-year Mass Communication student at Jamia Millia Islamia, who was shot in the arm by Rambhakt Gopal, is planning to file a defamation case against News18 India for spreading fake news and attaching his identity with another Jamia student seen in the CCTV footages released on February 16.
Shadab was informed about the fake news being broadcasted on national television, through his parents who have been consistently following the news.
He published his statement on his Twitter handle tagging the official handle of News 18 India, asking for a public apology.
Speaking to The Logical Indian, he said, "I will be filing a defamation case if they do not apologise within 24 hours." He had posted his statement at 11:01 pm on February 20 and has decided to wait until 11 pm today, to take action.
Shadab is aware of the fact that many local and regional dailies and broadcast channels have floated the false news claiming that he is the male student who can be seen entering the library in the Jamia tapes with a 'stone.' He hasn't been successful in tracing every mass media outlet which carried this fake news, "But to see a national news channel telecast it was shocking," he said.
The student in the Jamia tapes, who was accused of fleeing into the library with a stone on December 15, is a 'fellow Jamian' but Shadab has never interacted with him. It was also later established by fact-checking platform, Alt News, that the student in question was holding a wallet in his hand and not a stone as (mis)reported.
News 18 India hasn't responded to his post yet and he expects them to apologise publicly and not privately.
On February 17, the Hindi channel declared that the 'person who was injured at the Jamia shooting incident is the same person seen carrying a stone in the CCTV footage released by the Delhi Police.'
Drawing similarities based on the long hairstyle of the two individuals, News 18 India called them the same person. Asserting that the 'Delhi police has contended that it was Shadab who pelted stones and fled to the library,' the channel did its part to fuel the spread of the fake news.
Shedding some light on the developments regarding the Jamia shooting incident, Shadab told The Logical Indian that he has been trying his best to follow up on the case with the crime branch of the Delhi Police but hasn't heard back from the main Inspector yet. "He told me that he'll let me know but I have no idea if Rambhakt Gopal is even in custody or not. I have no information and none is being given," he said.
Shadab Farooq is also contemplating filing a case against Anurag Thakur. "Let us believe for a minute that Gopal is a minor. Thus, he has been mentally exploited and I hold Anurag Thakur responsible for it."
He is currently considering whether he should take action against the Junior Finance Minister or not, and is going to make a decision soon.
However, he has been on the receiving end of a lot of hateful messages and trolling. His profile picture on Facebook hosts a slew of comments upholding the terrorising act of shooting and demeaning Shadab.
He has maintained a distance and kept away from the media since January 30 - when he was injured due to Rambhakt Gopal's crime of shooting at the Jamia protestors. "I am not an 'interview person,' I am a student," he stated. "I have been quiet all this while because I do not want the attention."
Apart from a few posts dispensing the details of his take on the shooting incident, Shadab has hardly given any interviews or talks. He has posted his views on his Instagram and Twitter handles whenever a response was sought from him by the media fraternity.
"I am a student. I am no Gandhi. Gandhi is an idea and I am a small part of that idea. At many occasions, I have criticised Gandhi's ideologies as well. The problem starts when we begin idolising living beings. Some people idolise Gopal for what he committed, some idolise me for how I responded. These disparate ideas of idols are the reason we fight amongst ourselves."
Hailing from Bhaderwah, Jammu and Kashmir, Shadab calls his university his 'home.' "Jamia has been home for over four years and I'll do whatever is needed to protect my home," he stated in conclusion.