Shraddha Murder Case in Delhi: Times Of India changes the headline of its report to hide the murderer Aftab’s name

On November 14, reports emerged that a man identified as Aftab Ameen Poonawalla allegedly killed his live-in partner, a Hindu woman identified as Shraddha, in May this year. He allegedly chopped her body in 35 pieces, stored them in a newly brought fridge, and disposed of them one piece at a time for several days.

Like other media outlets, Times Of India also published the report of the ghastly murder at 12:35 PM with the headline “Delhi’s interfaith love: Shraddha’s body cut into pieces by Aftab”. The story initially identified the killer in the headline. However, within a couple of hours, TOI had a change of heart, and changes were made to remove Aftab from the headline.

Source: Archive.org

As per the records available on the Times Of India website, the story was updated at 03:07 PM. That is when the media house made changes in the headline and hid the name. The new title of the same report read, “Man chops live-in partner into 35 pieces, dump them in Delhi forest.”

Source: Times of India

Times Of India and misrepresenting crimes by a particular community

Times Of India has a history of misrepresenting crimes committed by a particular community. In June 2022, the Times of India also published a vague report instead of calling out the person responsible for the communal tensions. In its article titled “Curfew in J&K town after communal tension”, the Times of India refrained from including details of how a Muslim cleric in a mosque in Jammu insulted Hindus with gaumutra barbs, whipped up a communal frenzy by issuing death threats to former BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma and journalist Ashish Kohli. It went a step ahead and defended the murderous Islamists baying for the blood of Nupur Sharma and Ashish Kohli, stating that two miscreants provoked the community with objectionable comments.

In January 2022, TOI published numerous reports on the Kishan Barwad Murder case, all with ambiguous headlines in order to downplay the murder by radical Islamists. Interestingly, TOI is so meticulous with its plotline that it does not even reveal the victim’s name in the headline since it is a Hindu in this case, let alone the names of the Muslim perpetrators.

In November 2021, TOI reported an incident where an RSS worker was hacked to death by SDPI members. The report took a different turn in print versions. In one region, they said he was hacked to death, but in another region, they claimed he died in an accident.

In July 2021, Occult practitioner Afzal Malik and his aides gang-raped a minor girl in Amroha. While reporting, TOI used the word Tantrik insinuating that the culprit was a Hindu. However, in its report, the Times of India clearly mentions that the rape accused is an occult practitioner named Afzal. However, in an attempt to ‘secularise’ the crime, the ToI, in its report, misleadingly refers to the accused as a ‘Tantrik’.

Going further back, in October 2020, in a TOI report on an incident of Love Jihad that took place in Delhi, the name and identity of the Muslim accused were completely omitted. As per reports, an e-rickshaw driver named Dilbar Qureshi trapped a 13-year-old Hindu girl in a love affair posing as a Hindu man and later eloped with her on October 18. Both the headline and the body of the report of the TOI have no mention of the name of the culprit Dilbar Qureshi. The TOI report merely says that a 13-year-old girl was kidnapped by a 25-year-old man and was rescued from Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh, by the police.

Looking at their track record, it is hardly surprising that the Times of India chose to remove Aftab from the headline to try and hide the identity of the murderer, however, it is intriguing why they added the name in the headline in the first place and who asked them to change it.

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