A video report by Zee News featuring former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi has been widely circulated across social media. The clip by the news channel has been shared with the claim that Gandhi referred to Udaipur murderers as 'children' during a recent interaction with the media.
The claim is viral following the recent gruesome incident of the two Muslim men murdering a tailor Kanhaiya Lal using a cleaver in Udaipur on June 28. The two accused shared videos of the incident on social media stating that they committed the crime to "avenge an insult to Islam." Read The Logical Indian's report on the incident here.
A snippet of the Zee News report has gone viral across social media. In the 45 seconds viral clip, Rahul Gandhi can be heard saying the following, "This environment of anger, this environment of hatred and frankly the creation of this environment in the country is an anti-national act. The children who did this, are also children. So it's fine, it's not a good thing to do but they have acted in an irresponsible way. I don't have any anger or hostility towards them. We should be forgiving as far as they are concerned."
The caption of the viral tweets reads as follows, "Killers of Kanhaiya are *children* and should be forgiven:- Rahul Gandhi". These tweets claim that Gandhi has referred to the accused in the Udaipur case as children.
Author and prominent right-wing personality on Twitter, Shefali Vaidya shared the video as well. The viral posts, containing the Zee News report, allege that Rahul Gandhi spoke of those accused in the Udaipur incident in favourable terms, terming them as "children" and allegedly stating that they should be forgiven for the murder of Kanhaiya Lal.
The viral posts claim that Gandhi has adopted a forgiving attitude towards these accused. The posts are viral across Twitter and Facebook.
The Logical India Fact Check team verified the viral claim and found it to be false. The viral video is being presented out of context.
We used InVid's Keyframe analysis tool to isolate the keyframes of the viral video. On one of the isolated keyframes, we conducted a reverse image search and came across the following tweet by the news agency ANI. The tweet contained a screenshot of the same footage in the viral posts. The caption referred to an incident of vandalism at Rahul Gandhi's Wayanad office.
We then conducted a keyword search with relevant keywords to identify the original video of Rahul Gandhi's speech. We came across the following video report published by The Economic Times on July 1, 2022. In the 3-minute 22 seconds video, his speech begins at the 0.27 mark. "We don't believe in solving problems with hatred and anger and that's why also I'm saying that the youngsters have gotten excited. I don't appreciate that they have broken my office but we'll fix our office." Later in the video, the reporter mentions that Rahul Gandhi has pardoned the youngsters who vandalised the office.
We also came across this video report by News 18 Kerela uploaded on the news outlet's YouTube channel on July 1, 2022. The title of the video report reads, "Rahul Gandhi Office Attacked: "I have no anger towards the children who did this"; says Rahul Gandhi".
Gandhi's response to the gathered reporters starts from the 1.15 mark in the video report.
He says, "First of all, it is my office but before being my office, it's the office of the people of Wayanad. So, it's quite an unfortunate thing that has been done. Everywhere in the country, you see the idea that violence will resolve problems but violence never resolves problems."
Gandhi notes that the vandalisation incident was committed by children remarking, "They have acted in an irresponsible way. I don't have any anger or hostility towards them, they have done a silly thing. So we should leave it at that. They are kids, I don't think they understand the consequences of these types of things. I think we should be forgiving as far as they are concerned."
Then at the 2.17 mark, another reporter asks Gandhi about Congress' viewpoint on the Supreme Courts' statement about Nupur Sharma, the former BJP spokesperson. The court said Sharma "is single-handedly responsible for what is happening in the country, referring to the violent incident in Udaipur."
To this query, Gandhi responded, "Well look, of course, the Supreme Court has said this, but the atmosphere in the country has been created by the ruling dispensation."
"It is not the person who made the comment, it is the Prime Minister, the Home Minister, BJP and RSS that has created this environment in the country of anger, hatred and frankly the creation of this environment in the country is an anti-national act."
From the 3.55 mark in the video report, Gandhi can be heard stating the following, "The youngsters here have got excited, fine they have a slightly different ideology than us. We don't appreciate the fact that they've broken the office but we'll fix our office we'll get it back to normal. But we should be forgiving towards them."
We noted that the point where Rahul Gandhi mentions the vandalisation of the Wayanad office is not present in the viral posts. The part of the speech where Gandhi criticises the BJP and PM Modi is not included either. In our Fact Check, we came across this tweet by Rahul Gandhi containing his remarks on the Udaipur incident. In the tweet, he stated, "I am deeply shocked by the heinous murder in Udaipur. Brutalism in the name of religion cannot be tolerated. Those who spread terror with this cruelty should be punished immediately."
We also came across this tweet by the anchor of the Zee News panel in which the edited clip was aired. Rohit Ranjan, the Zee News anchor mentioned that Rahul Gandhi's statement was linked wrongly to the Udaipur incident. He noted that the video report was caused due to "a human error" for which the Zee News team is apologetic.
After the clip of Zee News went viral, an FIR has been filed by the a Congress leader Ram Singh Kaswan against the Zee News anchor Rohit Ranjan, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore and others for allegedly presenting Congress MP Rahul Gandhi's remarks on the vandalisation of his office in Kerala as it was a remark on the Udaipur tailor's murder.
In our Fact Check, we found that Rahul Gandhi was actually talking about the vandalisation that took place at his office in Wayanad. He refers to those who vandalised the office as 'children' and asserts that "we should be forgiving as far as they are concerned."
We found that Zee News edited the full responses by Gandhi in a misleading manner. The responses by Gandhi criticising the BJP and commenting on the vandalisation incident were missing from Zee News' report. Gandhi had termed the Udaipur incident as a "heinous murder" and said that "Brutalism in the name of religion cannot be tolerated." We found no instances where Gandhi forgave or defended the accused in the Udaipur incident.
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