A portal run by a former Students Federation of India (SFI), the student’s wing of Sitaram Yechury-led Communist Party of India (Marxist), district secretary today morning shared fake news regarding the retirement of Air Marshal Chandrashekharan Hari Kumar. At 7:55 am, a portal called ‘BigNews’ published the fake news, perhaps one of the first propagators of this fake news, that India has ‘removed’ Air Marshal Hari Kumar after ‘Pakistan shoot down jets’. This was then picked up by the news aggregator app, DailyHunt, which pushed it to millions of users.
We had earlier reported that Air Marshal Hari Kumar retired out of turn yesterday on February 28 after 39 illustrious years in service. The news of his retirement was used by Pakistanis to propagate that he was ‘sacked’ for his ‘failure to handle’ the current situation at the border. ‘Big News’ report mentions further that the decision (to sack him) ‘came after Pakistan’s surprise response against Indian aggression on Wednesday when two IAF fighter jets were shot down and a pilot was arrested for violating airspace.’ This again is fake news since it was Pakistan, not India which was showing aggression by targeting India’s military installations in retaliation to IAF jets destroying Jaish-e-Mohammad terror camps in Pakistan. Incidentally, it was Air Marshal Hari Kumar who played the pivotal role in the air strikes India had carried out on Pakistan-based terror organisations. Hence, stating that it was Pakistan’s ‘surprise response’ against ‘India’s aggression’ is also factually incorrect.
The news spread by BigNews, perhaps one of the initial reports to state that he was ‘sacked for his failure’ was quickly picked up by Pakistani media to propagate the same.
To know more about who is behind the anti-India propaganda, OpIndia decided to investigate the website.
BigNewsLive is registered by one Shebeer KI, who is based in Kerala. Shebeer KI is a former district secretary of SFI and also won Calicut University Union elections. From his Facebook posts, he still appears active in politics.
In one picture he is spotted with Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan, whom he refers to as ‘comrade’.
In another picture he is with CPI(M) Kerala General Secretary, Kodiyeri Balakrishnan who on Wednesday had said that the air strikes carried out by Indian Air Force on terror camps based in Pakistan were a ‘way to sabotage polls’.
In light of the above, one wonders why would a portal, run by a website whose owner is associated with SFI/CPI(M)/LDF, directly or indirectly, spread an anti-India fake news.
Update: Following our report, the article has now been deleted from BigNewsLive website. DailyHunt has also removed the same from their website.