‘Assam Rape Fest’ story in US media triggers row

NEW DELHI (TIP): An American news satire website’s play of words and comment on the security of women in India, and particularly in Assam, has evoked sharp criticism from netizens. Social media is abuzz with reactions – many believing the satire to be “true news” – after the website published a report headlined, ‘The Assam Rape Festival In India Begins This Week’ on November 3. The report, first published on NationalReport.net, which claims to be America’s Number 1 independent news team, was widely shared on social media. The report was later picked up by many websites and forums. With the frenzy snowballing, a few others tried to explain that the report was indeed a satire although it was not written anywhere on the website that it publishes fake news. On Thursday, Assam criminal investigation department registered a suo motu case against the website for posting the defamatory article. Commenting on Facebook, Arindom Phukan pointed out that the website had nowhere mentioned that the story was a satire. Ironically, the report was shared more than 89,500 times on Facebook and around 1,000 times on Twitter. “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,” the write-up said. Commenting on the post, one Terrance believed that the report was true and went on to write, “India is always raping something. Makes me sick!” Cursing the male gender, one Hannah wrote, “God have mercy on these innocent women… what kind of tradition is this. All you have to know is that God is watching you and you are going to pay for your sins.”

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