Unauthorised ‘newspaper’ on Bengaluru-Chennai Shatabdi sets social media abuzz

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The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has warned its contractor of action after passengers on the Bengaluru-Chennai Shatabdi Express got complimentary copies of a ‘newspaper’ carrying headlines such as ‘Genocide of Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists under Islamic rule needs to be recognised’ and ‘UN should label Aurangzeb as perpetuator of holocaust like Hitler’, The Indian Express reported.

The articles were on the front page of the Aryavarth Express, published from Bengaluru. “We have warned the licensee to see to it that such newspapers do not get circulated inside the trains ever again. As per contract, the licensee is to provide only complimentary copies of the Deccan Herald and a Kannada paper. He should stick to the contract conditions,” The Indian Express quoted Rajni Hasija, chairman and managing director of the IRCTC.

Social media buzz

The incident came to light when some passengers posted pictures of the ‘newspaper’ on social media, wondering whether it was being officially circulated by IORCTC.

“This morning I boarded the Bangalore-Chennai Shatabdi Express only to be greeted by this blatantly propagandist publication on every other seat — The Aryavarth Express. Had never even heard of it. How is @IRCTCofficial allowing this???,” Gopika Bakshi posted on Twitter.

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The IRCTC responded that it has taken action adding that the mentioned paper was found inside the regular approved newspaper as insert. “The newspaper vendor has been strictly advised to avoid any such inserts in future,” the company tweeted to one passenger, The Indian Express report said.tor

Action taken, says IRCTC

While the passenger claimed that she found the “newspaper” not as an insert, and many other users started linking the episode with the recent communal violence in Delhi, the Bengaluru divisional railway manager instructed his team online to take action on the matter.

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The licensee, PK Shefi, told The Indian Express that the “paper” got circulated as a supplement inserted by the newspaper vendor into the approved newspapers. “Our boys on board who distributed the newspapers did not understand that the newspapers contained this supplement,” the newspaper quoted Shefi adding, “I have instructed them to not distribute any supplements or pamphlets and just distribute the main paper from now on.”

Published from Bengaluru, Aryavarth Express has been edited by Prashant Goenka for the past seven years, as per his social media profile. Messages and calls to a number posted by Goenka on a social media account did not elicit any response, the newspaper report added.

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