National Report, the US based website posted a spoof on an “annual rape festival in Assam” six days ago. The Assamese Society of Bangalore has launched an online petition requesting the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to block the website in India.
The online campaign has already garnered 183 supporters in 24 hours.
Many Assamese residents in the city say they had received phone calls and messages from friends asking if the article is true. Restaurateur Deepti Timungpi says, "I got a call from a friend yesterday who had shared the link on my Facebook page asking me if it was true. While it was embarrassing for me I managed to explain it to him, but how can we explain that this is fake to the whole world? Targeting one state from India is like targeting the whole country."
Media professional, Dennis Baruah who has been living in Bangalore for the last seven years said, "This is an attention-grabbing gimmick and is really disgusting. People who do not know the reality might think this to be true and that is not acceptable."
Indians from all over the world are also posting their signatures on the petition. Meghna Joshi, who resides in Amsterdam, stated in her post, "I am an Indian and I know this report is utter rubbish. This spreads completely false information about the country and is truly pathetic."
Signing the petition, Nabajyoti Patowary from North Carolina, US wrote, "This is totally fake news which is derogatory to the people of Assam as well as to the people of India and I am surprised by the count of people who seem to believe this news."
A line in the National Report spoof reads, "Men in India are already beginning to celebrate as the annual Assam Rape Festival is just days away. Every non-married girl aged 7-16 will have the chance to flee to safety or get raped."
Pranjal Arabinda Medhi, who launched the petition, said, "I think the website published this article to gather donation money through the link given at the bottom of the article. The website used to claim that it is a satirical website, but it has taken down this disclaimer. Naturally, people who don't know about our country and its rituals are falling for it. This is utter rubbish and that is why we decided to launch an online petition to have the website banned."
Reproduced from Bangalore Mirror
Picture source: Assamese Society of Bangalore, Facebook