A disingenuous piece of fake news started doing the rounds of the internet when a user on Twitter shared an image claiming a ‘Shudra man’ was feeding on leftovers from a religious ceremony in Uttar Pradesh. The image, which showed a poor man feeding off leftovers on the street, was shared by Twitter user @ankushthebest10 who describes himself as a ‘Bihari Dravidian’.
In the tweet, Kumar Ankush claimed that Periyar was forced to feed on leftovers in Kashi in 1940 because he was denied food due to his Shudra caste. He used the image to claim that the same thing was happening all over again in current times. The tweet was published on the 7th of January and since then, it has been retweeted over 330 times on the social media platform.
In reality, the image depicts a scene from Bangladesh and was shared on his website by human rights defender Pinaki Bhattacharya on his website. It was published on his website on the 15th of December, 2019.
Bhattacharya says about the photograph, “This is a recent photo from Bangladesh. A hungry man is feeding himself with some leftover food he found by the road, the photo shows. The adjacent vehicle with the embossed insignia on it shows that it belongs to Bangladesh police. The frame shows what we know as Sheikh Hasina’s so-called development in Bangladesh.”
The post on his website was against the ruling Bangladeshi political dispensation. In the post, Bhattacharya says, “A mafia gang took away people’s rights to vote, fraudulently came to power and has formed a fascist government which is looting the country in all possible ways it can. And, the international community is aware of the situation in Bangladesh.”
The tweet which claimed that the image was from Uttar Pradesh still hasn’t been taken down, as of the time of writing this report. In recent times, Uttar Pradesh has been subject to tons of fake news to foment casteist discord in the state. In one such instance, in December, 2018, it was claimed by India Today that Dalits are not allowed to enter the Gorakhnath Temple, which is headed by Yogi Adityanath himself as Mahant. The claims eventually turned out to be completely false.