On the front page of its national edition dated August 22, Hindi daily Dainik Jagran claimed the Indian Army had carried out a surgical strike on Pakistan once again. The article mentions that 12 to 15 Indian Army commandos reached the Kotli area in occupied Jammu and Kashmir, located 2.5 km inside of the Line of Control, and destroyed a terrorist launchpad. Furthermore, it was mentioned that seven to eight terrorists were nabbed and brought back by the personnel during the operation.
Navdunia, a sister publication of Jagran, also published this story on the front page of its Bhopal edition dated August 22.
PIB Called it a False Claim
The Press Information Bureau (PIB)’s fact-checking unit denied that a surgical strike had taken place as per Dainik Jagran’s claims and termed it a false claim.
✔️यह दावा गलत है।
— PIB Fact Check (@PIBFactCheck) August 22, 2023
Army Followed Suit
Defence spokesperson Lt. Col. Sunil Barthwal, posted in Jammu, told Newslaundry that there was no truth to the Dainik Jagran report. He said that he was issuing a notice to the Dainik Jagran daily as the outlet neither verified the claim with anyone in Delhi nor contacted their office in Jammu. He further added that the Army had issued a statement on August 21 that two terrorists were killed in Balakot, which was the only military operation that took place on the LoC. While other newspapers also covered this news, he stated that Jagran had given it a “new form entirely”. The officer also said that he had been calling journalist Gagan Kohli, author of the report in question, since morning, but Kohli had switched off his phone.
Defense Ministry Rubbished the Claim
According to a story published in Jansatta, the Union ministry of defense denied the news of a new surgical strike, and said that no such strike has been carried out after entering the Pakistani side of the border. The ministry clarified that two terrorists, who had been trying to infiltrate into the Indian side by taking advantage of bad weather and fog on the LoC, had been killed in the Balakot sector.
Lt. Col. Barthwal further revealed that police and government agencies came to know from intelligence sources that terrorists were trying to cross over to the Indian side. Due to this, surveillance efforts had been increased. As soon as the two terrorists tried to cross the border, the Indian Army killed both in an encounter. The personnel recovered an AK-47 rifle, two magazines, 30 cartridges and medicines made in Pakistan from the encounter site.
Dainik Jagran Updated its Article
Dainik Jagran had also run the story about a surgical strike on Pakistan on its website on August 22 at 12:40 AM (IST). The headline of this online article was, “India carries out surgical strike on Pakistan again, 12 to 15 commandos part of the mission; Seven to eight terrorists captured.”
The outlet later updated this article at 12:14 PM (IST) on August 22, making a number of changes and removing the words “surgical strike” from the headline.
Following this, Dainik Jagran again updated the article on August 22 at 08:38 PM (IST) and added a disclaimer, while deleting the entire story. This disclaimer reads, “In a statement, the Defense PRO stated that it refutes the news of the Indian Army’s surgical strike published in Dainik Jagran. This story has not been confirmed by official sources.”
To sum it up, Dainik Jagran falsely reported that India carried out a surgical strike on Pakistan’s side of the border. The army denied this claim outright.
It is worth noting that Jagran New Media also has its own fact-checking initiative called Vishvas News. It is a signatory of the International Fact Checking Network (IFCN) and a fact-checking partner of Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram. Vishvas News has not yet fact-checked this Dainik Jagran report.
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