In the last 20 days, the whole dynamics between the two neighbouring countries India and Pakistan have changed. After the Pulwama terror attack which claimed the lives of more than 40 CRPF jawans, Indian Air Force (IAF) and Pakistan Air Force (PAF) were involved in cross-border air strikes. Taking the benefit of the situation, propaganda machinery got active and several fake news hovered across the social media platforms and tv channels. Not only these fake news misled people but also triggered people’s emotion.
Here are some of the instances:
1.) Image of a woman praising Imran Khan claimed to be Abhinandan’s Mother
On February 28, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan as a ”peace gesture” announced that the country is going to release the Indian Air Force Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman who was held captive after his aircraft crashed across the border. Soon after the news broke, several netizens across the country took to Twitter to exhibit how elated they were. Amidst this, an Image of an old woman crying with joy in front of a Television screen went viral. Several tweets carrying the image said that she is Abhinandan’s mother.
However, Altnews tracked the image and found it was shared on October 4, 2018, by a user Namrah Khan.
2) Video of a woman was mistaken as Abhinandan’s wife
Another video went viral on the social media before Pakistan PM announcement. The video was shared by numerous Indian account which claimed that the lady in the video is Abhinandan’s wife. In the video, a woman is seen asking the BJP government to not to politicise the sacrifice of soldiers.
The first to share the video was a Samajwadi Party MLA, Rajesh Yadav. Later on Indian Youth Congress’ online magazine Yuva Desh too tweeted the video. Congress Seva Dal member Harvinder Singh tweeted the video as well.
भाजपाईयों तथा मोदी आप भी सुनिए ये पायलट अभिनंदन जी की पत्नी कुछ सलाह दे रहीं हैं? थोड़ी सी भी शर्म बची हो तो शहीदों के फोटो लगाकर वोट मांगना बंद करों? वैसे बता दें कि इन्हें देशद्रोही मत बोलना क्योंकि ये खुद एक आर्मी अफसर हैं pic.twitter.com/Mh1mFVA8NB
However, if one listens carefully to the lady, she begins with saying – “I am the wife of an army officer”. A little further into the clip, she can be heard saying, “…just imagine the kind of tension, the kind of pain the family of Abhinandan is going through right now”.
From this, one can understand that the woman is referring to the Abhinandan’s family in the third person. This provides a clear picture that she cannot be his wife. Afterwards, images of Abhinandan’s wife put by various media houses clearly showed that the woman was not the same from the video.
3.) Pakistani media displayed an old image of a crashed aircraft
Various Pakistani media claimed that the Indian fighter planes violated the country’s air space and were shot down by PAF. News channel ARY News flashed an image of a shot-down aircraft. However, a Twitter user pointed out that the photograph of the crashed aircraft was from 2016, when a MiG-27 fighter plane crashed into a building in Rajasthan’s Jodhpur.
Another piece of misinformation was circulated by Pakistani citizens. Pakistan social media users shared a video of an injured pilot. Later on, it was found that it was a pilot injured in Bengaluru aero show.
4.) Pakistani twitter account holders shared screenshots of a jet from 2015 linking with the recent airstrike
Soon after the news broke where an IAF fighter jet was shot down by PAF jet, several Pakistani social media accounts carried different clips of a jet launching a missile/jet getting bombed, and a pilot inside a fighter jet. Later on, it was found that the clips which were posted on the Youtube channel were originally posted in 2015 (Source: Alt News).
Carrying and sharing misinformation can never be justified. One needs to check any information thoroughly before sharing it or telling it to anyone. Between the already ongoing tension between these two nuclear-powered countries, these fake news only exacerbate the situation. It is better to think rationally before sharing anything.