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India: The ‘Coup’ That Never Was

Yesterday (4, April, 2012) an article in the Indian Express reported on an attempted coup mentioning that two key  Indian Army units had moved towards Delhi without notifying the government on the night of January 16-17. Everybody from the government to the common people have dismissed the Indian Express’ front-page story and Twitter users have joined in the analysis.

The timing of the army movement coincided with the date of Army Chief V.K. Singh‘s petition before the Supreme Court on his date of birth. On the other hand, the Army said that it was a routine exercise to test fog preparedness.

Indian army men practice operating a ZU23 Double barrel gun during a military war exercise. Image by Sanjeev Syal. copy right Demotix (29/5/2011)

Indian army men practice operating a ZU23 Double barrel gun during a military war exercise. Image by Sanjeev Syal. copy right Demotix (29/5/2011)

Harini Calamur writes:

Maybe the good editor of IE would like to check out the story of the boy who cried wolf … or maybe their calendars have all been hacked and their internal system clock tells them it is April 1st. Maybe it is curiosity that has gone awry ….and maybe they thought that scoop is spelt as s’coup. or maybe the way they thought they will get some visiblity in the social and main stream media is to become the story themselves.

Sans Serif opines:

As the old saying goes, never believe a story until it is officially denied.

Still, is the Express story a “scoop” throwing light on something that was hidden or unknown; a rehash of previously published stuff; or just plain Delhi-style “spin”, against the backdrop of leaks and plants that have been coming in a torrent in the crossfire between the outgoing Army chief and the “establishment”?

Here are some of the Tweets on the story:

@vinugeorge: Indian express ‘attempted military C**P’ story is interesting. Shekhar Gupta is someone with a lot of reputation.

@atishmathur: India is a little too democratically docile to have an attempted military coup!!

@sprayrose: Shekhar Gupta thinks that common sense is very uncommon… so ppl will lap up his story that 2 units of Army can take over India in a #Coup

@SmokeNLace: indians have taken over twitter! trending topics include: Indian Express, Shekhar Gupta, Subhash something…wtf?

@anishparikh07: Indian Express has lost its credibility!! It may as well stop being printed!! #coup

@smrutiranjansa9: fear of a coup by the indian army….sry globe…democracy is deep rooted in indian soil…not made in india though…..:)

@mahigupta: #Thingsnottodoinpublic publish Military coup story on front page of your news paper in India..without knowing awareness of common man.

@gauravsabnis: Yo India… still upset at Indian Express for doing its job, i.e., reporting?

Nitin Pai at the Acorn tries to analyze the unusual movement of two army units towards New Delhi:

The two most important questions at this time are the following. First, why were the two military formations moved in an ostensibly unusual manner? Second, why did the government permit this report to be published at all, and why now?

The blogger suggests that the report was let published so that “the public is kept informed of the slightest risks to our democratic setup”.

Meanwhile in an announcement the Indian Express has stood by its report.

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