The news of the Unnao rape victim’s car accident this Sunday has been a topic of furious debate across the political spectrum this week. The victim’s car was hit by a truck on the Lalganj-Raebareli highway and both the victim and her lawyer are critical at the moment. 2 of the victim’s family members had succumbed to their injuries.
BJP MLA Kuldeep Sengar, who is lodged in Sitapur jail since last year, has been accused of being involved in the incident. It is also being alleged by the victim’s family that Sengar and his associates have been threatening and intimidating the victim and her family to ‘compromise’ in the rape case. The UP government had already recommended a CBI probe into the car accident to ascertain Sengar’s involvement and a fresh case has been lodged in this regard.
The BJP has been facing immense criticism for Sengar’s involvement with the party. Though Sengar was associated with BSP and SP for a long duration, he is a BJP MLA since 2017 and it had been alleged that the local police and the state machinery in Unnao had attempted to shield him. After the victim’s car accident on Sunday, the fingers pointing towards BJP have multiplied as the party showed no attempts to expel Sengar despite the grave allegations.
Amidst all this, there are also attempts to propagate the idea that senior BJP leadership is ‘helping’ Sengar and is unwilling to accept his involvement in the crime.
A fake quote attributed to Smriti Irani, presented as an ABP News broadcast has been doing rounds on social media. The fake quote claims that BJP leader and Union Minister Smriti Irani considers the allegations on Sengar are false, using a clearly photoshopped image.
The tweet sharing the photoshopped image of an ABP Newsfeed with a fake quote of Irani was shared by hundreds of people on social media.
CPI (Marxist) leader Subhashini Ali also used the fake quote to attack the BJP.
However, many Twitter users attempted to point it out that the image is photoshopped and it is a fake quote.
एक और बयान आया है pic.twitter.com/p9hh5Zf2Vs
— Ankur Singh (@iAnkurSingh) August 1, 2019
Please investigate and take strict action against him.
— Ayush Gupta (@GuptaJiUPWale) August 1, 2019
Several users also pointed it out to Subhashini Ali that the image she has used is photoshopped and it contains a fake quote.
In reality, Smriti Irani has issued no such statement supporting Kuldeep Sengar. As the Minister for Women and Child Development, Irani seems to have been keeping a close watch over the issue. She had also shared updates from the NCW as a team visited the victim and met the DGP. Last year, after the CBI took over the case, Irani had told the people to have faith in the legal system and had promised that the guilty will not be spared.
Irani, being the minister for woman and child development, has been facing a lot of criticism from the opposition, as well as supporters of BJP over her ‘silence’ on the Unnao issue. However, she has not claimed that the charges on Kuldeep Sengar are wrong and the photoshopped images of ABP Newsfeed are clearly malicious propaganda to spread misinformation. The website of ABP news also does not have any such news report.
Photoshopped images claiming to be newsfeed by popular news outlets have often been propagated to spread fake news. Before the Gujarat elections, photoshopped images of another ABP News screenshot was doing the rounds on social media which declared that Congress is winning it.
During the same time, the Editor of Ahmedabad Mirror was also caught spreading morphed images of ABP News screenshots claiming that Amit Shah had used derogatory statements about Patidars.
AAP MLA Alka Lamba was also caught spreading morphed images with fake surveys with ABP News logo.
Smriti Irani has been a constant target for fake news peddlers and political trolls who often attack her with filthy, distasteful photoshops. In April, Congress Sevadal had spread morphed images attributing fake quotes to Irani to target her with misogynist remarks.