No, The Wire Didn’t Publish an Excerpt Against Goddess Durga

Team Webqoof
·3-min read

An excerpt from a report by The Wire is doing the rounds on social media to claim that the news portal intentionally disrespected Hindu goddess Durga by calling her a “sex slave”.

However, it is noteworthy that the excerpt has been taken out of context. It is from a report where The Wire had quoted Union Minister Smriti Irani speaking in the Parliament and reading out a pamphlet insulting the Hindu festival of Durga Puja which she claimed was distributed on the campus of the Jawaharlal Nehru University.

CLAIM

The viral screenshot which is being massively shared on Twitter 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”.

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Among those who shared this screenshot and attributed the quote to The Wire is former Navy officer and author Harinder Sikka.

An archived version of the tweet can be accessed <a href="https://archive.is/jLX12" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:here" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">here</a>.
An archived version of the tweet can be accessed here.
An archived version of the tweet can be accessed <a href="https://archive.is/7STXF" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:here" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">here</a>.
An archived version of the tweet can be accessed here.
An archived version of the tweet can be accessed <a href="https://archive.is/AtX8n" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:here" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">here</a>.
An archived version of the tweet can be accessed here.

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WHAT WE FOUND

A keyword search using the terms from viral excerpt directed us to the full report published on The Wire. Titled “Mahishasura and the Minister” the report by Jahnavi Sen talks about Smriti Irani’s speech in the Lok Sabha as the then HRD minister.

According to the report, Irani while responding to the criticism of the government over its handling of the events at JNU stated that “anti-national” events had taken place at the campus.

The Wire’s report then quotes the minister as she read from a pamphlet which she claimed was distributed on the campus.

“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,” the portal quoted her as saying.

This explainer by The Quint details the entire controversy as it happened in the Parliament.

Clearly, an excerpt from a pamphlet which was read by Smriti Irani in the Parliament and was subsequently reported by The Wire is now being used without context to claim that the news portal is “anti-Hindu” and “anti-national”.

Siddharth Varadarajan, founding editor of The Wire, himself shared a link of the original article on Twitter.

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