WebQoof Recap: Of West Bengal Poll Dates And Disha Ravi’s Religion
Here’s a round-up of all that misled the public this week.
From an edited election schedule claiming to be that of the upcoming West Bengal Assembly Elections, to social media users claiming that 21-year-old climate activist Disha Ravi is a “Christian involved in a conspiracy to break India,” here’s all that misled the public this week.
1. Rumours Online Target Disha Ravi Over Her Religion, ‘Motherhood’
Since the arrest of 21-year-old climate activist Disha Ravi on 13 February, social media has been abuzz with misinformation targeting her in connection with the ‘toolkit’ controversy. On Wednesday, 17 February, one of the top trends on Twitter was ‘Disha Ravi Joseph’ with over 15,000 tweets.
It was shared by several users alluding that she is a “Christian involved in a conspiracy to break India”. In another instance, social media was rife with rumours that she is a single mother.
To check the first claim, we found a report by The News Minute, which quoted Ravi’s lawyer as saying that Disha Ravi’s full name is Disha Annappa Ravi and she is a Hindu.
The sole source of this “news” that Disha Ravi is a single mother appeared to be Times Now, which, too, has now updated its article without any clarification. The Quint spoke to one of Disha Ravi’s friends who, too, refuted the claim that she is a single mother.
2. That’s Delhi CM With AAP Supporter Ankita Shah, Not Nikita Jacob
An image of Aam Aadmi Party Chief and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal with party supporter Ankita Shah went viral with the false claim that the woman in the picture was lawyer Nikita Jacob.
While scanning through the replies on the tweets that had made the claim, we found that a user had suggested that she is one Ankita Shah. We then searched for Ankita Shah on Twitter and Facebook and found that she had uploaded the viral image in 2019 on her social media accounts.
Therefore, we found that the viral image shows Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal with Ankita Shah and not lawyer Nikita Jacob.
3. 2019 Lok Sabha Schedule Shared As 2021 West Bengal Election Dates
A photograph showing an Indian Oil-Adani Gas fuel pump was shared on social media with a claim that the Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA government has sold Indian Oil Corporation Ltd to the Adani Group of Industries.
We looked at the about page of the company and it said that “Indian Oil-Adani Gas Pvt Ltd (IOAGPL) is a joint venture company of Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOC) – a Maharatna Company of Government of India and Adani Gas Ltd (AGL), a leading city gas distribution company and part of Adani Group.”
Indian Oil Corporations Ltd’s (IOCL) official website also mentions Adani Gas Ltd as a partner and says the company is in the business of gas distribution in cities. Therefore, the claim that IOCL was sold to Adani Group was false.
4. 2019 Lok Sabha Schedule Shared As 2021 West Bengal Election Dates
A graphic showing the schedule of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections has gone viral with the claim that it shows the dates of the impending elections to West Bengal’s legislative Assembly.
The West Bengal Assembly elections are set to happen later this year. However, we didn’t find any announcements on the Election Commission of India’s (ECI) website about the dates of the upcoming elections.
We also found two errors in the viral image. The constituency names mentioned in the viral image were the 42 parliamentary constituencies and not the 294 Assembly constituencies where the elections will be held.
We found that the dates and constituencies mentioned in the viral image were that of the general Assembly elections of 2019. The list was also seen on the website of the Election Commission.
5. No, These Are Not Bajrang Dal Members Protesting Against Farm Laws
A video showing people carrying saffron flags and raising slogans against the BJP-led NDA government was shared to claim that they are members of the Bajrang Dal – a youth wing of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) – supporting the ongoing farmers’ protest.
We reached out to Shiv Sena MLA Santosh Bangar, who organised the protest in the viral video, who told us that the said video is from a protest organised by him against the fuel price hike by the central government.
There, we found that the said video was from Maharashtra’s Hingoli district, where Shiv Sena workers led by party MLA Santosh Bangur, organised protests against the hike in fuel prices.
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