Many media outlets ran a story originally covered by The Hindu which claimed that a man had molested a dying woman on the foot overbridge at Elphinstone station, Mumbai, where a deadly stampede claimed the lives of at least 23 citizens.
— vedika chaubey (@vedikachaubey) October 1, 2017
The original report, written by journalist Vedika Chaubey, claimed:
In a video clip of the Elphinstone stampede, a victim is seen as being molested by a bystander as she lies atop a pile of victims on the foot overbridge on Friday. The woman, trapped by the bodies, reaches out weakly for help before dropping her hand and breathing her last.
Jayshree Kanade, who was at Parel station when the stampede occurred, said, “Many people stole purses and gold ornaments from women victims. This molestation video is really shameful. How can someone molest a girl fighting for life and asking for help? The culprits should be punished.”
Niket Kaushik, Commissioner of the Government Railway Police, also reportedly promised an inquiry into the incident.
Contradictions to the story
Now, other videos of the incident have emerged on social media that contradict the news report’s claims.
The video shared by Miss Chaubey was only 8 seconds long, and not much can be deciphered from it. The other videos that have since emerged shed more light on the incident. They show that the man in question was actually trying to save the woman from the stampede before she breathed her last.
Social media users questioned the legitimacy of the molestation claims and, as more videos emerged, demanded an apology from the author of the news reports.
This is groping? https://t.co/BlC1kgum4B
— R (@reviewero) October 1, 2017
— Anand Ranganathan (@ARanganathan72) October 2, 2017
The Logical Indian take
The Elphinstone tragedy shook the nation. It claimed 23 lives and brought down the morale of the city of Mumbai. During such times, it is extremely important for journalists to verify their reports as many times as possible, and for citizens to not believe everything they read on the internet at first glance. Such crass mistakes not only hurt the reputation of those in the video, but they also decrease the people’s trust in the media.
The Logical Indian community requests community members to verify everything that they come across on the internet. To ensure that our national debate is healthy and well-informed, each and every one of us has a responsibility of treating what we read with a pinch of salt, a spoonful of doubt and a flood of research.