NEW DELHI: Dismissing media reports about two men having been jailed in India for saying cow urine and dung do not cure COVID-19, government sources on Friday said the two individuals have been "habitual offenders" of inciting enmity in society, and that some foreign media outlets have presented a "distorted, pernicious and one-sided perspective" on the issue.
The clarification followed news reports that two men have been "arrested in India for saying cow urine and dung do not cure COVID-19".
The reports claimed that the pair have been held in Manipur for 45 days so far for dispelling a politician's claim.
In a strong rebuttal of these reports, including in a British newspaper, the government sources said they presented a "distorted, pernicious and one-sided perspective" about the two individuals involved in the case, and about the action taken by the government of Manipur in this regard.
The report has not presented the perspective of the complainants, thereby giving a lop-sided narrative about the related incidents, the government sources said.
The sources further said one of the persons mentioned in the report labelled as an activist, in the past, has been involved in multiple anti-social activities which have risked disturbance of social harmony, loss of public tranquillity, and impacted cordiality of relations between various social sections in society.
In the present case, the person's statements on social media were alleged to bring hatred, outrage religious feelings and sentiments, and thereby disturbing the public order in society.
On a complaint received by the local police, he was arrested as per the due procedure of law, and was remanded to police custody for four days vide order dated May 14 by the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Imphal West, Manipur, the sources said.
A similar position exists in the matter related to the other person mentioned in the news reports, they added.
The sources said the two men are "habitual offenders" causing fear and alarm to the public, with their actions and statements having a potential to incite any class or community or person to commit offences against other class or community thus promoting enmity.
"What has been conveniently ignored is the profile of these individuals, who have committed anti-social activities in the name of social activism and made a deliberate attempt to destroy social harmony and bonhomie between various communities in the Indian State of Manipur," a government source said.
"We regret that the report completely neglects the ground reality and presents sensational journalistic accounts of matters pertaining to India, which has of late become a tool to gain visibility in the media space and eye-balls among the non-Indian audience," the source said.