A news story published by an American website, that later went viral on Facebook and Twitter, has led to a deep unrest in Assam. The news piece named “The Assam Rape Festival in India begins this week” was published on NationalReport.net early November.
Later, the website said that it was a satirical write up. However it was nowhere mentioned. The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of Assam Police, on November 7, took up a suo motu investigation on the issue. Mentionable that the story is yet live on the website. The website nationalreport.net is hosted on GoDaddy Server and the domain was registered on February 22, 2013.
The article started with “Men in India are already beginning to celebrate as the annual Assam Rape Festival is just days away. Every non married girl age 7 – 16 will have the chance to flee to safety or get raped.” Intriguing lead, one cannot deny. It just needed some editing with regards to the syntactic matters.
Then it explained how it is a long time tradition followed in Assam dating back thousands of years. It is supposed to rape the evil demons out of the girls. It further told the story of a man named Baalkrishnan TamilNadu who raped everyone in his village named Doomdooma. He is remembered every year in this event and the Baalkrishnan Trophy is awarded to the best performer in the rape-fest.
The report also quoted a statement from a fictitious source named Harikrishna Majumdar (24), whose incestuous ambitions make him sound like a desperate maniac in need of immediate psychiatric attention.
I hail from Assam and I must say that one has to be well-familiar with the state to know of a place like Doondooma (even after considering easy access to the internet through any hand-held device today). The fictitious Harikrishna Majumdar can be any Assamese or Bengali fellow living in Assam. However, Baalkrishnan TamilNadu is the creation of an indolent brain having desires to make dirty jokes but unwilling to put the efforts required to fulfil them.
Though CID of Assam Police has now informed that the news was sourced from Uganda, it just looks like they have been fooled by some technically blessed ingenious evil who knows more about networking than our paid officials. Useless to mention that CID could have serve a SUBPOENA to GoDaddy.com LLC. GoDaddy clearly mentioned their SUBPOENA policy and address as bellow:
Go Daddy is headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona and all subpoenas should be served at that location or mailed to:
14455 North Hayden Rd., Suite 219
Alternatively, the subpoena can be faxed to:
Attn: Compliance Department
(The same can be retrieved from http://godaddy.com/agreements/showdoc.aspx?pageid=CIVIL_SUBPOENA)
Assam CID’s data speaks for itself. It shows how in 2012, around 1852 children went missing (out of which, 1233 were girls) and only 698 could be traced. In January this year, they took up seven rhino-poaching cases. Their progress remains a question, however, poaching hasn’t stopped. Agriculture department engineer Gadapani Pathak’s murder case and many others still lay open in their books.
Assam CID has always been hard on the common people but when it comes to such high-tech cyber criminals, they struggle to prove themselves.
According to the latest annual crime report of the National Crime Records Bureau published in June 2013, Assam has the highest rate of violent crimes. It also has the highest rate of crime against women, with 1716 rapes and 140 dowry deaths in 2012.
The concerned satirical news piece has made a bigger impact, taking into consideration the crime account which the bureau report reveals. It can also be viewed otherwise, that is, it is this harsh reality about Assam which gives weight to such news, irrespective of its authenticity.
Parodies and satirical news are new forms of entertainment. People like reading them and there are websites exclusively dealing with them. For instance, the Indian website www.fakingnews.firstpost.com has thousands of followers on Facebook. There is no place for such nonsensical work amidst genuine news in a regular news website which NationalReport.net, operating from Houston (USA), claims to be one.
In this case, one possibility could be that the website had published the defamatory article – rich in news values but lacking truth – without the slightest verification of factual details (which in itself is a question on the credibility and acquirement of its news desk). And on being so badly criticized, they declared it satirical in nature, though it was nowhere mentioned as a fake or a comic piece.
Another possibility could be that the website had published the story considering it heavily sensational. When the story got viral on Facebook, the website got the required readership it had desired for. And that is how a website earns – through the advertisers who keep count of the number of times the concerned pages are visited. Later they said it was a pun-piece and got it removed, which isn’t actually. One can still visit and see that the site is still having the story in live.
However, it was equally unwise on the part of Netizens to share it like fanatics and also for people who were reacting to it in a strong belligerent tone. The story itself, the character Baalkrishnan TamilNadu, use of a fun sounding tri-syllabic word Doomdooma and the debauched quotations, all added together, emerge as a dirty preposterous prank. It was not worth being paid much attention to by any discerning mind.