WebQoof Recap: Of Patanjali’s ‘COVID Cure’ & India-China Standoff

Here’s a quick round-up of the WhatsApp forwards and fake tweets that misled the public this week.

5 min read
Here’s a quick round-up of the misinformation that misled the public this week.

From Patanjali claiming to have found the ‘miracle cure’ for coronavirus to fake news surrounding the India-China standoff along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), here’s a quick round-up of the misinformation that misled the public this week.

1. Cancer, HIV, COVID: Patanjali’s Long List of Murky, Unproven Cures

Even as doctors, scientists, researchers and healthcare experts across the globe struggle to develop a vaccine for the novel coronavirus, Patanjali on Tuesday, 23 June launched ‘Coronil and Swasari’, touted by company’s founder Baba Ramdev as a cure for COVID-19.

Patanjali’s Corona Kit.
Patanjali’s Corona Kit.
(Source: Twitter)

However, in a dramatic turn of events, hours after a pompous launch on national television, the Ayush Ministry asked the firm to stop selling and advertising the purported COVID medicine.

In a statement, the Uttarakhand Ayurvedic Department also distanced itself from the “miracle COVID cure” revealing that Patanjali’s application “never mentioned coronavirus” and a licence was only approved for its use as an immunity booster and a drug for cough and fever.

However, this isn’t the first time that the FMCG company has found itself in the middle of a controversy resulting from endorsing exaggerated and unproven cures.

You can read the report on the murky and troubled history of Patanjali and its co-founders Baba Ramdev and Acharya Balkrishna here.

2. ‘Cathy Rolanova’ – The Many Lies of a Self-Proclaimed OSINT Expert

A Twitter user by the name of ‘Cathy Rolanova’, who claims to be an open-source intelligence expert, frequently posts about India’s ties with other South Asian countries. Only that, many a times, the information shared by this handle falls flat on the face of facts, raising serious questions about the source and motives of its posts.

With over 4,000 followers amassed in less than two months, ‘Cathy’ often broadcasts unverified and misleading images and videos to her audience on Twitter.

‘Cathy Rolanova’ on Twitter.
‘Cathy Rolanova’ on Twitter.
(Photo: Twitter/Screenshot)

The Quint decided to investigate and we were able to identify four such instances where misinformation regarding defence and security-related issues was shared by the said Twitter handle over a span of 54 days.

Read the full report here.

3. Sitaram Yechury Called Xi Jinping His ‘Boss’? No, Tweet is Morphed

A fake tweet masquerading as one made by Communist Party of India (Marxist) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury is going viral on social media. The tweet shows Yechury shaking hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping and the text of the tweet has Yechury saying that it is a pleasure to meet his ‘boss’.

WebQoof Recap: Of Patanjali’s ‘COVID Cure’ & India-China Standoff
(Photo: WhatsApp)

However, using Twitter Advanced Search, we tried to find out if the tweet had actually come from Sitaram Yechury, but the tool yielded no results for the date that it had allegedly been made, 20 October 2015.

Next, we noticed that Yechury’s Twitter bio says that he had joined Twitter in October 2015. Using a website called Twitter Join Date, we found that Yechury had joined the micro-blogging platform only on 29 October 2015.

Therefore, it is clear that the photo of the tweet from 20 October 2015 doing the rounds cannot be from Yechury’s Twitter handle since it was only created nine days later.

You can read the full report here.

4. Congress Handles Claim Indira Gandhi’s Leh Photo to Be From Galwan

An image of former prime minister Indira Gandhi addressing soldiers in 1971 was shared by several Congress Twitter handles with the claim that it is from Galwan Valley, the place that witnessed violent face-off between Indian Army and Chinese PLA soldiers on 15 June.

Ali Mehdi, vice president, Congress Delhi, tweeted the image claiming that the image is of Indira Gandhi addressing Indian army soldiers in the Galwan Valley.

You can view the archived version <a href="http://archive.is/dugtR">here</a>.
You can view the archived version here.
(Source: Twitter/Screenshot)

We reverse searched the image on Google and found that a website called art-sheep had published the image with the caption: “One of the rare pictures of former Prime Minister late Indira Gandhi addressing jawans in Leh in 1971.”

It is noteworthy that the distance between Leh and Galwan Valley is nearly 219 kilometres and takes over six hours to travel.

You can read the full report here.

5. CPI(M) Leaders Raised Anti-Army Slogans? No, Images Are Morphed

Morphed images of Communist Party of India (Marxist) leaders Brinda Karat and Sitaram Yechury are being circulated online with a claim that they raised slogans against the Indian Army and supported China after the recent face-off in the Galwan Valley.

An archived version of the post can be found <a href="http://archive.is/wip/fWGYB">here</a>.
An archived version of the post can be found here.
(Source: Facebook/Screenshot)

On conducting a Google reverse image search we came across the pictures that were uploaded by CPI(M)’s official Twitter account on 16 June. As opposed to the viral images, the posters spoke about demands that included cash transfer and free food grains to individuals.

The original images prove that the photographs are from the protest that the party had organised across India on 16 June demanding a cash transfer of Rs 7,500 per month for families outside the income tax bracket for a period of six months, free distribution of 10 kg of food grains, provision of 200 days’ employment under MNREGA among other things.

You can read the full report here.

(You can read all our coronavirus related fact-checked stories here.)

(Not convinced of a post or information you came across online and want it verified? Send us the details on Whatsapp at 9643651818, or e-mail it to us at webqoof@thequint.com and we'll fact-check it for you. You can also read all our fact-checked stories here.)

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