Hyderabad: An excerpt from a report by The Wire is circulating on social media with the claim that the report disrespects goddess Durga by calling her a “sex slave” and is intentionally defaming the goddess.

The excerpt reads, “Durga Puja is the most controversial racial festival, where a fair-skinned beautiful goddess Durga is depicted brutally killing a dark-skinned native called Mahishasura. Mahishasura, a brave self-respecting leader, was tricked into marriage by the Aryans. They hired a sex worker called Durga, who enticed Mahishasura into marriage and killed him after nine nights of honeymooning, during sleep.”

One Twitter user tweeted, “@thewire_in You’re intentionally stooping low,paid by cheap politicians,traitors to stoke fire, anarchy,hate? Durga is worshipped in Hindustan.Can u dare write such obscene words for Islam? #ShameOnYou @narendramodi It’s crime under cover of Press Freedom? (sic)”



Click here to view the archive and here to view similar claims on Twitter.

FACT CHECK:

The claim that The Wire promoted ‘anti-Hindu’ sentiments by calling the Hindu goddess a “sex worker” is FALSE. This excerpt was taken from a report titled “Mahishasura and the Minister” from February 2016 published by The Wire.

Wi1

Smriti Irani, the HRD minister, was responding to the criticism of the government’s handling of events at JNU by alleging that several “anti-national” events had taken place at the campus.

Irani read out a pamphlet allegedly brought out by the organisers of the event: “Durga Puja is the most controversial racial festival, where a fair-skinned beautiful goddess Durga is depicted brutally killing a dark-skinned native called Mahishasura. Mahishasura, a brave self-respecting leader, was tricked into marriage by the Aryans. They hired a sex worker called Durga, who enticed Mahishasura into marriage and killed him after nine nights of honeymooning, during sleep.”

Opposition parties then sought an apology from the minister for reading out “objectionable” comments made against a god in the Rajya Sabha. This issue created a huge controversy between political parties.

NewsMeter found videos by various news organisations like Swarajya, The Quint, and the Times of India where Irani is seen reading from the pamphlet. The entire speech can be found here which was uploaded by the BJP on YouTube.

https://youtu.be/iRIAs6pA3bg

(Swarajya)

https://youtu.be/p7Ltlotbu8c

(Quint)

https://youtu.be/p7Ltlotbu8c

(TOI)

https://youtu.be/tOE2jTlmOSc

(BJP)

Wi2

The viral excerpt was from a pamphlet read out by Smriti Irani in 2016 and was quoted in a report by The Wire. Hence, it is clear that the news organisation did not promote ‘anti-Hindu’ sentiments and neither did it call Durga Puja a “racist festival” and the Hindu deity a “sex worker”. The claim is FALSE.

Claim Review :   Fact Check: The Wire did not call goddess Durga ‘sex worker’; excerpt from 2016 article misrepresented
Claimed By :  Unknown
Fact Check :  false

Misha Rajani

Misha Rajani is currently a Freelance Fact Checker at Newsmeter and is a final year student at Loyola Academy Degree and Pg College. She is doing her degree in Psychology, English, and Journalism. She has a zeal for learning and is very passionate about writing. Apart from writing articles, she also writes poetry.

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