Fact Check: Bhojpuri Movie Scene As Riot Scene To Images Of Jesus On Slippers In Gujarat

Fact Check: Bhojpuri Movie Scene As Riot Scene To Images Of Jesus On Slippers In Gujarat

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In a social media-driven generation, most of us at some point have shared fake or half-true news on our timelines. Sitting before our desktops or scrolling down our mobile phones, we accept any news that is thrown at us without question, especially when it is shared by relatively credible media houses or public personalities. We have an expectation that what we read is true.

However, not all that we read is true. Too many news stories these days are fake, half-true, planted or outdated.

The problem of fake news is becoming a crisis in India, especially when credible media houses with millions of readers widely share such false stories.

Here is a breakdown of fake/false news, mainstream media misreporting, and public personalities spreading misinformation in the last week.

1) US soldier depicted as Indian soldier so that Facebook pages can get more traction

Some Facebook pages are sharing a photograph of a US marine with injured feet and claiming it to be a photograph of an Indian soldier with injured feet so that their pages can get more likes and shares.

Posted by Laughing Colours on Thursday, July 13, 2017

One page actually said “Those who don’t comment “Jai Hind” in respect of the soldier are Pakistanis.”

Such posts got hundreds of thousands of shares, likes and comments, proving the gullibility of many Indians.

2) No, RSS is not distributing slippers with image of Jesus Christ on them in Gujarat

SM Hoax Slayer reported that a Facebook user posted an image of a slipper with an illustration of Jesus Christ on it.

The post read: “These Sandals are supplied for free in Gujarat, by some people hoping it would start a 2002 style riot, which will improve BJP’s chances of winning the forthcoming elections … But Christians are not bothered, because they are not crazy illiterates like the Chaddies (who would have lynched a dozen people by now, if the picture was of a Hindu God).”

The slippers were not from Gujarat; the image is from last year and it evoked outrage and global debate.

3) BJP MP tweets newspaper cutting with Photoshopped headline

BJP MP Prathap Simha tweeted an image on Sunday, 9 July, showing a Times of India article titled “Hindu girl stabbed to death by Muslim man”.

BJP MP Pratap Simha had tweeted a Times of India story with a distorted headline. Kindly be aware of this image floating around on social media.

Posted by Alt News on Saturday, July 8, 2017

No such headline ever appeared in The Times of India. The Times of India itself tweeted, “The headline of our original story (pic) was distorted by a mischief monger using photoshop. Our legal team will take action.”

Simha subsequently deleted his post.

3) Pakistan Defence wrongly calls Pakistan the largest refugee hosting country in the world

Pakistan Defence, “a one stop resource for Pakistan defence, strategic affairs, security issues, world defence and military affairs”, recently tweeted saying, “Pakistan is proud to be the largest refugee hosting country in the world & we’re proud that we didn’t produce a racist maniac like you.”

This is factually wrong. Pakistan is not the largest refugee hosting country in the world. This distinction goes to Jordan, followed closely by Turkey. Pakistan is #3.

According to Amnesty International, 56% of the world’s 21 million refugees are being hosted by just 10 countries – all in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia.

4) BJP spokesperson mistakes 2002 Gujarat riots for 2017 Basirhat riots

Nupur Sharma, a BJP spokesperson in Delhi, had two non-bailable cases registered against her by the Kolkata Police. Sharma had shared a photo of the 2002 Gujarat riots on social media, claiming it to be a photograph of the Basirhat riots last week.

5) Scene from Bhojpuri movie shared as scene from Basirhat riots

Kolkata Police arrested a man from Sonarpur for posting “fake” pictures that he claimed were of Basirhat. The Cyber Crime Cell of Kolkata Police arrested this man for posting a photo from a Bhojpuri movie and claiming it was captured in Basirhat. The photo showed a group of male actors pretending to molest a woman on screen but the man passed it off as an instance of the communal riots.

Additionally and troublingly, this photo too was shared widely, including by BJP leaders.

6) Fake news over churches and mosques being exempt from GST

In the expected confusion that followed the rolling out of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), the largest taxation reform in Indian history, there was one strain of confusion that was plainly manufactured to incite hate. Rumours spread on social media that churches and mosques would be exempt from the GST while temple trusts had to pay GST.

The government came out with a statement to clarify these rumours: “There are some messages going around in the social media stating that the temple trusts have to pay the GST while the churches and mosques are exempt. This is completely untrue because no distinction is made in the GST Law on any provision based on religion. We request to people not to start circulating such wrong messages on social media.”

Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy actually wrote to the Revenue Secretary and Principal Secretary to the PM requesting for the taxes on temple trusts to be relaxed. In this letter, Swamy wrote: “I notice that for Muslim and Christian religious organisations the taxes are nil in the GST scheme.”

In reality, as clarified by Alt News, “The truth of the matter is that any business/body, religious or not, have to mandatorily register under Goods and Services Tax if its aggregate turnover is in excess of 20 lakhs. Religious places of all hues have various trusts associated with it. These religious trusts usually own several properties which they often rent out. Besides revenue via rent, religious places also often sell various items via Gift shops and more. This income from rent and sale has been taxable even before the introduction of GST and continues to be taxable after the introduction of GST.”

7) BJP IT Cell Secretary shares old video to incite communal tension, gets arrested by CID

Tarun Sengupta, the Secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) IT cell, shared an age-old YouTube video and claimed that the video depicted Muslim IPS officers physically harassing a Hanuman Bhakt on Hanuman Jayanti this year. It was untrue and intended to spew communal hatred.

Sengupta has since deleted his post. He was arrested by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) on July 12 for allegedly posting ‘fake’ images and video on social media that contain communally sensitive material.

Creating or sharing fake news is never justified. We have a responsibility to verify everything that we post on the internet. To ensure that our national debate is healthy and well-informed, each and every one of us has a responsibility of treating what we read with a pinch of salt, a spoonful of doubt, and a flood of research.

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Editor : Sudhanva Shetty Shetty

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