Unless you have been living under a rock, you must have heard of one Abhishek Mishra. A self-styled YouTuber who swings between supporting Kejriwal and Congress and who has been called out for spreading fake news and images and has often been hailed as a social media bigwig who exposes politicians. The article which profiled him talks about how he runs a website ‘viralinindia.net’ where he has hired professional people for ‘smart editing and maintaining’ of his website. Abhishek Mishra has often tweeted about his closeness with senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh.
— Abhishek Mishra (@meamabhishek) September 16, 2017
With the menace of fake news having spread far and wide, we decided to dig a little deeper on ‘viralinindia.net’. We landed on an article where persecution of Hindus in Pakistan is reported as growth of Islam. In a post from 12th April titled ‘500 Hindus celebrate after embracing Islam in Pakistan’, the article does not mention any source to back its claims about the persecution. But does say how many countries in the world are ‘spending money to malign Islam’ but despite that, people are ’embracing’ Islam happily. It cites an example of one Chandu and his family.
खबर तो ये भी हैं कि इन सभी 500 हिंदुओं ने धर्म परिवर्तन करते हुए आस-पास पर्चे भी बांटे थे.
जिनमे से 80 वर्षीय चंदू, उसकी पत्नी धामी, बेटा भगवान, बहू धरमी और बच्चे धीरो, मूमल, जयराम व कविता नाम के लोग भी शामिल हैं.
मीडिया ने जब इन लोगों से इस्लाम कबूल करने की वजह पूछी तो इन्होने बताया कि पहले ये हिन्दू धर्म में बेहद अकेला और असुरक्षित महसूस कर रहे थे लेकिन जब से ये लोग इस्लाम धर्म में आए हैं तब से ही उनके अंदर खुद आत्मविश्वास और सुरक्षा की भावना आ गई है.
ये लोग अब इस्लाम कबूल करने के बाद बेहद खुश है. और पुरे दिल और सम्मान से इस्लाम के अनुयायी बने हुए है.
The reality is far from that, though. A report from DNA in March, 2018 talks about the said forceful conversion.
The most hapless among them is the family of Chandu Bhil. Seeing CID’s attempt to send residents to Pakistan forcibly, he had knocked the high court door and despite a holiday, a special bench of the Rajasthan High Court granted stay on his deportation.
But before that, the CID deported Chandu, his wife Dhami, son Bhagwan, daughter-in-law Dharma, grandson Jairam and granddaughter Kavita by the Thar Express from Jodhpur on August 5, 2017. Just before the court order was carried out, Thar Express reached the border. Now, the family is under pressure to accept Islam. So, many families like Thakur’s, Hamira’s, Bhagwan’s, Bhura’s, Khushal’s, Dharmaram’s, and Nagta’s, who had come to Jodhpur after facing religious and physical discrimination in Pakistan, were deported. In many villages, the Hindu population has started to disappear.
An unfortunate, forceful religious conversion is celebrated by ‘viralinindia.net’. There are many such pro-Islam news which is full of sensationalism.
The website not only posts anti-Modi and pro-Islam propaganda but also absolute rubbish, like a post on how one hen gave birth to puppies in Bihar.
The article describes how the one hen belonging to one Bhole Miyan of Harpurray village gave birth to puppies instead of laying eggs.
जानकारी के मुताबिक हरपुरराय के भोला मियां की मुर्गी ने पहले जब अंडा न देकर एक कुत्ते के पिल्ले के आकार का बच्चे को जन्म दिया, तो भोला की पत्नी तो उसी समय माथा पीटने लगी थी। इस पर महिला मुर्गी को कोसते हुए पड़ोसी राकेश सिंह को मुर्गी का यह किस्सा सुना रही थी कि मुर्गी ने उसके दुःख को दोहराते हुए उसी तरह एक और यानी कि दूसरे पिल्ले को भी जन्म दे दिया।
मुर्गी द्वारा पिल्ला जनने की खबर से पूरे गांव में बवाल मच गया खबर भी आग की तरह फैल गई। लोगों की भीड़ जमा होने लगी। तरह-तरह की बाते लोगों ने बनाना शुरु कर दिया। इस घटना को लेकर औरतों की जुबान पर घोर कलयुग आने की बातों ने जोर पकड़ लिया।तो ग्रामीण अजय कुमार ने बताया कि देशी नस्ल की ये मुर्गी पहले अंडे देती थी।
The article actually was actually telling its readers that the hen gave birth to puppies and after that she died. Not satirically, not jokingly, but in all seriousness it described the medical miracle.
Other articles on the website are also factually incorrect, anti-Modi articles. Over and above that, there are many sexually explicit articles with clickbait-y headlines perhaps to get traffic to the website.
These articles, especially sexually explicity ones, are used to bring the traffic where the readers are then exposed to fake and factually incorrect news. And as we explained above, amidst fake news and sexually explicit content, the website also indulges in spreading pro-Islamic propaganda.
The propaganda is not just confined to the website. The various Facebook pages share unverified and fake quotes, attributing them to politicians and the same get a lot of traction because they are anti-Modi.
The above post containing fake quote is shared over 14,000 times and has over 11,000 likes and almost 200 comments. This is just one example. Their entire Facebook feed is full of wrongly attributed fake quotes.
These posts are regularly shared by pro-Congress and fan pages affiliated to ‘neutral’ journalists. The ‘viralinindia.net’ Facebook page was created on 13th March, 2016 and has over 9 lakh likes. This page ‘likes’ the following four pages which regularly cross-share the posts from ‘viralinindia’.
Zee News Ko Band Karo Facebook page has 2,87,639 likes, Priyanka Gandhi – Next PM of India has 4,82,738 likes, Prasoon Vajpaayee Fans has 9,06,803 likes and I Support Ravish Kumar has 16,43,812 likes. All these pages regularly share fake and inflammatory ‘viralinindia.net’ posts.
That is not it. Alexa, a company which analyses websites and ranks them has ranked viralonindia.net at 8286, higher than the mainstream leftist propaganda website TheWire.in (13,342) and ‘fact-checker’ altnews.in (81,950) which has many times shown bias in ‘fact-checking’.
With such high ranking on Alexa and such deeper reach on social media, the damage done by ‘viralinindia.net’ is real but somehow it has escaped scrutiny of mainstream media which keeps crying about fake news. Perhaps because a lot of content on viralinindia.net is anti-Modi.
Meanwhile, Abhishek Mishra, who was once an Arvind Kejriwal fan has gone rogue and now focuses on Congress, especially with Madhya Pradesh elections close on the heels. Wonder what is stopping the mainstream media and ‘factcheckers’ and those new age hoax-busters from calling out Mishra and his little venture which is setting a dangerous trend.