A widely-shared video of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath purportedly abusing a cameraperson of news agency ANI created controversy on Monday. However, the chief minister’s media advisor claimed that the video was edited to spread fake news.
The Bharatiya Janata Party leader was speaking to ANI after getting vaccinated against the coronavirus. In the video, he is seen thanking Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the government for the vaccination drive. “I would like to extend my greetings to the country’s scientist,” he continues, before the camera moves a little and the chief minister uses an expletive at the cameraperson.
Fact-checking website Alt News reported that Adityanath’s comments were broadcast by several news channels and that the video was not edited.
Even as opposition parties and social media users began to criticise Adityanath, ANI’s Uttar Pradesh bureau tweeted a new five-minute video clip of the chief minister. “Editors note: Earlier issued live sound byte is retracted,” it said, acknowledging the existence of the initial video.
The news agency has not issued any statement on whether the chief minister’s insult was directed towards its cameraperson.
Adityanath’s media advisor, Shalabh Mani Tripathi, retweeted a video of a user showing both versions with the tags “edited video” and “original video”. While he himself has not commented about the matter, he also retweeted a report claiming that the last three seconds of the first ANI video was doctored.
Uttar Pradesh Additional Chief Secretary of Information Navneet Sehgal told Newslaundry that the first video seemed to be morphed. “Somebody must have played with the video,” Sehgal claimed. “We have uploaded the genuine video. He didn’t actually say it if you watch that.”
Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and the Aam Aadmi Party were among those who took a swipe at Adityanath.
“Warning: Fake Yogi’s non-sanskari [uncultured] language ahead,” the Aam Aadmi Party tweeted.
Akhilesh Yadav, who did not share the video, asked people to wear headphones and listen to what the chief minister has to say to journalists. But he warned them to do this away from children.