On Thursday, 21 March, writer MadhuPurnima Kishwar tweeted out a post, claiming that the manifesto of DMK was anti-Hindu in stance, and that page 85 and 112 of the document stated that people occupying temple lands would be regularised, their ownership transferred and that encroached Wakf lands would be reclaimed and handed back to the body.
She followed up her tweet by many more to prove her point. In one, she retweeted a person whose Twitter handle read ‘Chowkidar Ranga’. The person in question had tweeted the exact text as Kishwar had done, but earlier than her, and had also attached a screenshot of a WhatsApp message saying the same thing.
On 22 March, she also replied to other tweets, saying there was proof that her statement about the DMK manifesto was not ‘malafide’.
She also tweeted screenshots of the manifesto to prove her point.
TRUE OR FALSE?
Since Kishwar’s tweet about DMK’s manifesto came ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and just days after the party released their manifesto for the same, it was ostensibly put out in the 2019 context. However, DMK’s manifesto for the upcoming elections does not even have a page 85 or a page 112, since it is a 76-page document at the most.
In fact, the last two pages of the document talk about protection of religions and religious harmony.
The DMK spokesperson, Manuraj S also clarified that the tweets were fake, pointing out that the 2019 manifesto had no page 85 and 112.
A closer look at the people who Kishwar had retweeted and replied to revealed that both of them had attached screenshots that said the same thing, but clearly stated that the manifesto in question was dated 2016. The source given in the below screenshot said it was from the 2016 manifesto, which we have highlighted in red.
The other person who Kishwar replied to as well, citing proof, also mentioned that this information was in the 2016 manifesto of the DMK.
Other people on Twitter, too, called out both Kishwar and Ranga for their tweets, pointing out that the statements in question were from the 2016 manifesto.
The 2016 manifesto did say that a temple trust would receive rent collected from temple lands and that offers to purchase the temple land would be considered within the legal framework. It also said that properties of the Wakf board would be recovered and protected.
This is what both Ranga and Kishwar have taken to be an anti-Hindu stance, but while Ranga’s tweet mentions the source to be 2016, Kishwar’s tweet nowhere mentions that the manifesto is older and not the one for the 2019 elections, causing it to be misleading.
In fact, in further tweets by Kishwar where screenshots of the manifesto were attached, the only indication that the document was older was the URL of the document. Kishwar’s tweet simply read: “DMK Manifesto downloaded from their website confirms their anti Hindu stance”. This leaves open the assumption that one is speaking of the most recent manifesto.
When questioned by The Quint as to why she was raking up an old manifesto ahead of the 2019 elections, Kishwar said, “They [the DMK] have been consistent. They are trying to take over our shrines and temples. There is a case in the Supreme Court against them regarding this. Does this not bother you? Why are you targeting me?”
Kishwar’s Past Instances of Sharing Fake News
In May 2018, Kishwar had slammed the Jammu and Kashmir police and Director General of Police Shesh Paul Vaid for “playing doormat to jihadi politicians.”
Referring to Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani’s encounter, she had alleged that Vaid actually suspended the Jammu and Kashmir superintendent of police for killing Wani in 2016, as Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti was upset over the encounter.
Kishwar named Sushil Pandit as the source of her information and when contacted back then by The Quint, seemed displeased at the credibility of her information being questioned.
The Jammu and Kashmir police called her out for sharing the information, saying that it was “concocted.”
On 20 February 2018, Kishwar had shared an edited picture of a truck which carried a signboard cautioning other vehicles from blowing the horn since "the Modi govt was asleep," with the hashtag #WorldSleepDay. Though she was called out on Twitter for sharing a picture that was obviously photoshopped, she has not yet taken down her post.
In 2018, Kishwar had also fallen for rumours that five Muslim men were arrested by the Haryana police for vandalising a school bus in Gurugram during the Padmaavat protests. After the Haryana police clarified that no such arrests were made, Kishwar had later deleted the tweet and apologised to her 2 million followers.
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