ANI clips Vaiko’s statement to cut out “Modi a traitor” remark; media houses run misleading reports based on that

MDMK general secretary Vaiyapuri Gopalsamy alias Vaiko on April 3 spoke to the media about the ongoing controversy surrounding the Katchatheevu island in Sri Lanka. Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) is an ally of the ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) in Tamil Nadu, which is a part of the Congress-led INDIA bloc.

Katchatheevu is an uninhabited island located northeast of India’s Rameswaram town in Tamil Nadu and southwest of Sri Lanka’s Jaffna city. This island was ceded by India in 1974 to Sri Lanka, and the former subsequently relinquished its claim to fishing rights in the water surrounding Katchatheevu. The issue resurfaced after the BJP revealed details about government discussions concerning this issue. Prime Minister Narendra Modi accused the then government of ‘callously’ ceding the islands to Sri Lanka. The opposition leaders have charged the BJP with exploiting this sensitive issue to garner votes in the upcoming elections.

In this regard, ANI tweeted a 10-second clip on April 3 of Vaiko’s interaction with the media where he is heard saying, “Congress betrayed Tamil Nadu on every front at the time…”. (Archive)

The ANI tweet was quote-tweeted by Union minister Piyush Goyal, who urged the people of Tamil Nadu to listen to the video. (Archive)

Several mainstream media outlets ran this news with the purported quote from Vaiko as the headline. Hindustan Times published a report titled, “‘Cong betrayed Tamil Nadu on every front’, says Vaiko”. Nowhere in the article do they mention what Vaiko said beyond the 10 seconds seen in the ANI video. CNN News 18 also published a similar report titled, “Congress Has Always Betrayed Tamil Nadu, Says DMK-Cong Ally Vaiko On Katchatheevu Issue”. The report only mentions the 10 seconds seen in the viral video tweeted by ANI. News Nine also tweeted a similar report titled “‘Betrayed Tamil Nadu on every front’: DMK- Congress ally slams Congress on Katchatheevu issue” calling it ‘a scathing attack on the Congress’.

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Journalist Rahul Shivshankar also quote-tweeted the ANI video and questioned why the MDMK was fighting the elections as part of the INDIA bloc. “Politics of convenience knows no bounds?” he asked. (Archive)

Verified X user Kanchan Gupta also tweeted the ANI video with the same claim. (Archive)

Several other users, including BJP national spokesperson C R Kesavan, amplified the viral ANI clip with the same claim. (Archives- 1, 2, 3, 4)

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Fact Check

Alt News found a longer clip tweeted by Sun News. The 37-second clip has Vaiko’s entire statement. He said, “Congress betrayed Tamil Nadu in every front at the time. After that… these ten years, this was a testing time for Narendra Modi. He is a traitor, he betrayed Tamil Nadu, he betrayed India, he betrayed Sri Lanka..,” he stated.

From this, It becomes clear that ANI ran a clipped statement where the part in which Vaiko had accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of ‘betraying the country’ was cut out. This clipped video and statement were later amplified by mainstream news outlets, ministers and BJP leaders.

Vaiko addressed an election meeting while canvassing for DMK candidate Thamizhachi Thangapandian on Wednesday, April 3. During his speech too, he criticized the BJP, stating, “The Hindutva forces need to be defeated, and a huge wave is set to sweep the INDIA alliance at the Centre.” He added, “The BJP leader had announced that he would end Dravidian government in Tamil Nadu. People have to take a vow to defeat the BJP in this election”.

It is worth noting that Congress leader Supriya Shrinate tweeted only the latter part of Vaiko’s statement where he is heard slamming the Modi government. ““These 10 years were a testing time for Narendra Modi. He is a traitor. He betrayed Tamil Nadu, he betrayed India, he betrayed Sri Lanka” : MDMK founder Vaiko”, Shrinate’s caption read. This tweet, too, is misleading since the first part of the statement, where Vaiko criticised Congress, has been left out. (Archive)

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