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Webqoof: From Kathua to Kerala, Fake Stories of April ‘18 Busted

A Webqoof round-up of all fake stories in the news and on the internet busted in April.

7 min read
Webqoof: From Kathua to Kerala,  Fake Stories of April ‘18 Busted
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While the gruesome Kathua, Unnao, and Surat rape cases rocked the nation in April, there were other events that grabbed headlines this month. PM Modi’s informal visit to China, elections in different parts of India, and incidents of violence were reported across the country during Bharat Bandh, among others. However, in the time of fake news, there were bound to be a few headlines that weren’t true.

Here’s The Quint’s WebQoof roundup of the fake stories that were busted in April.


Kathua Rape: Exposing a Viral List of Lies From Ground Zero

As the protests grow, so does the need to differentiate between what is true from what is outrightly false.
(Photo: Altered by The Quint)

The now infamous Kathua rape and murder case was given a communal tone by viral posts on social media. The chargesheet filed by the J&K police in the case revealed that an eight-year-old girl was sedated, raped repeatedly, and then bludgeoned to death in January 2018.

Of the many fake news posts doing the rounds on social media, there was one with the headline, 'Why lawyers in Kathua are demanding a CBI Inquiry'. The contents of this post are outrightly false.

An image which had been shared over 7,600 times on Facebook, was posted by a page named ShankNaad, a repeat offender when it comes to spreading misinformation. The page has more than 1.3 million Facebook followers and 17.4 thousand Twitter followers.

Read the full story here.


No, Times of India Didn’t Say Modi and Xi Will ‘Mate’ in Wuhan

The original story, published in their print edition read: “Modi, Xi will ‘meet’ 6 times in 24 hours”.
(Photo: Altered by The Quint)

Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday, 27 April, The Times of India’s headline screaming that the two leaders will “mate” six times in 24 hours went viral. The photo of the newspaper headline spread like wildfire on social media platforms, especially on Twitter and WhatsApp.

The viral photo was shared by some journalists and other personalities on Twitter, with people expressing shock at the headline.

Read the full story here.


The Mystery Beard: Did Zee Morph Footage of the Bharat Bandh?

Both photographs show the same man with a gun, but his beard is longer in the image from Zee TV as compared to the image of NDTV.
(Screenshot from Youtube video) 

A collage of two photographs went viral on social media. The photographs were taken during the violence that followed the recent Bharat Bandh, called by Dalit organisations to protest Supreme Court’s dilution of the provisions of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

Both photographs show the same man with a gun, but his beard is longer in the image from Zee TV as compared to the image of NDTV. Many social media users have suggested that the image has been photoshopped to show a visibly Muslim looking man holding a gun. What was the truth behind these images?

Read the full story here.


Kathua Rape Fallout: Assam, Bihar Cops Bust Fake News

BOOM contacted local police in Assam and Bihar and found troubling inaccuracies in at least two viral posts on social media.
(Photo Courtesy: BOOM)

A sickening crime, which sparked mass outrage in India, also prompted a large section of the Indian right-wing to question the reportage and reaction of netizens condemning the crime. Several right-wing websites and prominent Twitter handles posted horrific images of victims of crimes where the perpetrators were Muslim. BOOM contacted local police in Assam and Bihar and found troubling inaccuracies in at least two viral posts on social media.

On Thursday, 12 April, several Twitter users posted three images of a woman’s body lying face down in a watery paddy field, claiming she was a minor who was allegedly raped and murdered by illegal Bangladeshi immigrants in Barpeta district of Assam. The images had been retweeted along with the same text by several Twitter users including actor Raveena Tandon.

Read the full story here.


Viral Pics Are Fake, Dalits Didn’t Kill A Cop During Bharat Bandh

Alt News found out that these pictures are of June 2017 and they were taken in Uttar Pradesh.
(Photo courtesy: Alt News)

Sub-inspector Mahendra Chaudhary of Jodhpur district mercilessly beaten to death by this Dalit. Is this what Bharat bandh is about? Share this widely” (translated).

Along with this message, three photographs were posted, claiming that a sub-inspector was brutally beaten to death by a Dalit protester during Bharat Bandh of 2 April.

These photographs were posted by the Facebook page ‘Kattar Hindu Bhagwa Raj’, which has a large following of more than 35 lakh. At the time of writing, this post had been shared almost 70,000 times by Facebook users.

Read the full story here.


Dainik Jagran Resurrects Article Saying Kathua Minor Wasn’t Raped

Dainik Jagran revived the story on the Kathua rape victim, which claimed that the eight-year-old girl was not raped. 
(Photo: Altered by The Quint)

Dainik Jagran, one of India’s leading Hindi daily newspapers, brought back the online version of its print story published on Friday morning that alleged the eight-year-old Kathua victim was not raped. The report had mentioned the existence of two post-mortem reports submitted by the doctors at Kathua district hospital to the special investigation team of the Jammu crime branch. The online story was taken down by post noon, a fact confirmed to BOOM by Kamlesh Raghuvanshi, digital editor of the publication.

The story was resurrected at 6:53 pm in the evening. BOOM contacted Raghuvanshi who said, “When I saw the story in print, I wanted to check some of the facts which the reporter sent to me. I wanted to know that if he is mentioning the post-mortem report, does he have it or did he write the details by looking at the report? When I got the reports, I looked at them and after being convinced of the details, we have brought back the online version of the story.”

Read the full story here.


BJP Uses Bangladesh Images in Manifesto to Show ‘Lawlessness’ in WB

West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh. 
(File Photo: IANS)

Ahead of the Panchayat polls, the Bharatiya Janata Party sparked a new controversy after using images of violence in Bangladesh in its election manifesto to assert “lawlessness” in West Bengal.

In a bid to reinforce its claim that there is lawlessness in the state under the current regime, the BJP manifesto released on Tuesday used a number of pictures of violence and vandalism, one of which was allegedly of the 2013 Bangladesh violence, reported IANS.

Read the full story here.


Shankhnaad Story on Kerala Woman Being Attacked by Muslims is Fake

A screenshot of the fake post.
(Photo: Alt News)

Shocking: Elderly Hindu woman brutally attacked, idol and temple desecrated by Muslims in secular Kerala. Why is Bollywood silent? #Asifa #islam.

Serial communal rabble-rouser, Shankhnaad once again tried to polarise communities and target Kerala by spreading communally sensitive news on social media. In a second tweet he wrote “Jihadi attack on Hindus, Temple vandalism continue in Kerala during protest for Asifa. Worse fate awaits if Hindus continue with their ignorance and one-way secularism”.

There is a very high probability that any such news coming from the Shankhnaad handle is fake and has been spread with the singular objective of fanning communal tensions. Alt News has exposed Shankhnaad handle several times in the past for circulating fake news.

Read the full story here.


Forensic Tests Counter Dainik Jagran’s ‘No Rape’ in Kathua Story

Delhi protests against Kathua and Unnao rapes.
(Photo: The Quint)

“No rape of the girl in Kathua, post-mortem report only talks of injuries” screamed the front page of the Hindi newspaper Dainik Jagran on 20 April. The article claimed that the post-mortem report of the Kathua incident makes no mention of rape. It stated that there could be other reasons for the injuries that the victim suffered. The report went on to explain that scratches on the thigh could be a result of a fall, and the torn hymen could be a result of activities like cycling, swimming, horse riding etc.

The article made no mention of other injuries that also pointed to a possibility of sexual assault. The article was on the front page of Dainik Jagran editions in New Delhi, Agra, Allahabad, Amritsar, Aligarh, Kathua and Jammu among others. Nai Dunia, which is a part of the Dainik Jagran group, also published this article.

Read the full story here.


Serial Faker Shanknaad Says Kanhaiya Kumar Failed 11 Times in JNU

Former JNUSU President and student leader Kanhaiya Kumar has failed his exam for the 11th time in JNU was circulated online. 
(Photo: The Quint)

Social media was abuzz with posts on the former JNUSU President and student leader Kanhaiya Kumar having failed his exam for the 11th time in JNU. On Twitter, a number of users tweeted that Kanhaiya has failed 11 times in the JNU exam and slammed him for wasting taxpayers’ money. A tweet by a Twitter account called Shanknaad was tweeted over 1,900 times.

The youth leader has many detractors who latched on to this information and targeted him.

Read the full story here.

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