Avinash Das, director of the movie Anarkali of Arrah, which released in 2017 with Swara Bhaskar in the lead role shared a fake image from his verified Twitter handle on 3rd October. The photoshopped image quotes Sambit Patra saying in a press conference aired by ABP News, that farmers protesting on Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border are all being ‘Gadar’ or ‘traitor.’
— Avinash Das (@avinashonly) October 3, 2018
The attached image seems manipulated at the first glance. Against the headline, ‘BJP’s press conference’ image of Rahul Gandhi is pasted. The text also seems to have been imposed superficially.
The farmers protesting near the national capital recently belonged to Bharatiya Kisan Union, who have been on Padyatra since 23rd September. They were stopped from entering Delhi.
BKU had called off the protest after the government allowed them to visit Kisan Ghat and later stated that the central government has agreed to meet most of their demands.
Sambit Patra, the national spokesperson of BJP, debunked the fake image and said that no such press conference was ever held. He also asked Twitter India, to take ‘stringent action’ against the director.
No such Press Conference was ever held by @BJP4India
This is a photoshopped,fake news propagated by a verified Twitter handle to further vested interests & cause disharmony in the country
I sincerely request @TwitterIndia to take stringent action against the verified handle! https://t.co/tU0w2SCrpL
— Sambit Patra (@sambitswaraj) October 4, 2018
Surprisingly, even though he was caught spreading fake news, director Avinash Das, instead of apologising for posting fake news and imagery, chose to justify it by giving it a political twist.
माननीय @sambitswaraj बेशक मैंने आपके नाम की एक फोटोशॉप्ड इमेज ट्वीट की, लेकिन क्या ये सच नहीं है कि “बहुत हुआ किसानों पर अत्याचार, अबकी बार मोदी सरकार” का नारा देने वाली आपकी सरकार आज सबसे बड़ी किसान-विरोधी सरकार बन गयी है? 2019 के लिए किसानों पर आपकी पार्टी का नारा क्या होगा? https://t.co/KtJNdOaeVl
— Avinash Das (@avinashonly) October 4, 2018
Social media is a powerful platform for communication but many people with vested interests use it to manipulate public sentiments and score political goals. Recently, prominent leftist leader Kavita Krishnan was also caught sharing an old image from 2013 as being that of the recent farmers’ protest.