A video clip of a hawker selling toys on a train went viral recently where the hawker was making political commentary, which was quite hilarious.
Soon after, several media houses like the Indian Express and Times Now reported that the hawker was arrested for mimicking politicians, ‘including Prime Minister Modi’.
However, as it turns out, media connected two unrelated incidents and spread misinformation. The hawker has actually arrested for being a repeat offender for illegally hawking in trains and not because he mocked politicians, especially PM Modi.
In fact, the hawker Avdhesh Dubey was one among 9 men punished for similar offenses, thus ruling out the possibility that he was singled out for his funny act. He along with eight others were produced before the magistrate yesterday on 31st May.
Incidentally, Dubey was handed a jail term for the least days among all the accused, further pointing out that he was not singled out for any reason whatsoever. In fact, even this jail term and a fine was due to the fact that he was booked 7 times in the past by different Posts for unauthorized hawking, thus making him a repeat offender that attracted high quantum of punishment.
Authorities further told OpIndia that Dubey was prosecuted by the Surat post itself 4 times and by Valsad post 7 times in the past (Update: Ministry of Railways has officially confirmed this). Despite such history, sources in the Railway Ministry told OpIndia that Avdhesh Dubey will get bail on Monday.
Railways officials reiterated that the action against Dubey was routine and it had got nothing to do with his utterances in the viral video.
One wonders how then the media houses linked the punitive action against him to the content in the video. If one watches the video, one would realise that Dubey, the hawker, was not mocking PM Modi at all.
The fake news was thus perpetrated on two levels:
- That Dubey was mocking politicians ‘including PM Modi’. When one watches the video, it becomes evident that Dubey was not mocking PM Modi.
- That Dubey was arrested for mocking politicians when in fact, he was arrested along with others for illegal hawking and that Dubey is a repeat offender.