An image of a newspaper clipping is circulating widely on Social Media these days. The image claims in the headline that the UP government is going to distribute five lakh condoms in the upcoming Kumbh Mela. We saw the image shared by a page named ‘Jaunpur Shahar’ on Facebook.
Upon searching ‘Kumbh main condom’ in Hindi on Google and Facebook, one of the first results was a Facebook post shared by a user named Kiran Yadav, who had written, “The UP government is spending millions of Rupees from the taxpayers’ money for the lust of certain **(an abusive term for sex workers). The money should have been spent on eradicating poverty from the lives of millions.
Kiran Yadav’s post was shared by over four hundred Facebook users. The user Kiran Yadav has over 91 thousand followers on Facebook.
When team OpIndia tried to search the veracity and spread of this so-called ‘news’ we found that on the internet, two websites, namely, ‘Azad Sipahi‘ and ‘The Voices’ have published the report. No other mainstream media portals seemed to have published the news.
Interestingly, every word of the ‘news’ clip shared on Facebook and the web pages with the story were exactly the same. Even the error of repeating ‘Is Baar’ twice in the second sentence was replicated in the clipping and the websites.
To confirm the veracity of the claims, team OpIndia contacted the Director, Informations of the Kumbh Mela, Shri Shishir. He stated that the claims made by the viral news clip and the websites mentioned here are totally false. He also stated that there is no such government circular about the distribution of condoms and this is an attempt to spread malicious propaganda to defame the mega event.
Based on our fact-finding, we concluded that the claims made by the viral image of the paper clipping and the websites mentioned above are completely false. There is no such circular by the UP government and the reports of the distribution are fake propaganda to malign the religious sanctity of the event.
The above fact-check can also be read in Hindi here.