As Maulana Muhammad Saad Kandhalvi remains absconding after his Tablighi Jamaat emerged as the hotspot of spreading the Wuhan Coronavirus in the country, attempts have been started to whitewash the crime of the Islamist organisation in aggravating the pandemic in India. As part of such an attempt, an image has been doing the rounds of social media claiming that Maulana Saad has donated ₹1 crore to the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund.
The message which has been circulating on WhatsApp and other social media apps shows an image of a newspaper named News Letter, and the leading news on its first page has the headline says, “On March 28th, Molana Saad donated an amount of 1 core to the PM MODI Relief Fund.” The report under it says, “Most of Islam has been maligned as terrorism. But this time Corona has united all religion. This is due to Maulana Saad, the Sadar of Nizamuddin Jamaat, who donated an amount of 1 crore to the Prime Minister Modi Relief Fund. Maulana Saad kept this donation secret”. The purported news report also adds, “This is not the time to discredit Modi ji but to support him, at this time Modi ji is thinking for the benefit of the country”.
The image has been superimposed with the text in Hindi saying, “the great person who has been blamed had donated 1 crore to the PM’s relief fun on 29th March.
A cursory glance at the ‘report’ makes it evident that it is fake, as the language and the grammar do not sound like the text of a legitimate news report. The newspaper, News Letter, is indeed a real newspaper, published in Northern Ireland. The News Letter is one of Northern Ireland’s main daily newspapers, and it is the oldest English language general daily newspaper still in publication, which was started in 1737.
When we searched the website of the News Letter with the words mentioned in the ‘report’, we found no results. Moreover, it is almost unlikely that someone in India making a donation to the PM’s relief fund will be reported as the leading news on the first page of an Irish newspaper. Lots of Indians are donating generously for the fight against the Coronavirus, and they are not carried as the leading news even in Indian newspapers.
When we further searched on the Internet, we found that the image of the newspaper used in the fake message actually from 6th June 2019, and not 30th March 2020 as shown in the message. In a report dated 6th June 2019, BBC had carried the image of the Irish paper of the same day on a report on US President Donald Trump dominating the headlines, analysing how newspapers carried the news of Trump’s visit to Ireland.
It becomes clear from this image that the fake report of Maulana Saad donating 1 crore to PM’s relief fund was pasted on the original image of the newspaper, replacing the report on Trump’s visit. And now this fake news report is being wildly circulated on social media platforms, projecting Maulana Saad as a great man.
Earlier today, Shekhar Gupta’s The Print tried to whitewash the role of Tablighi Jamaat in spreading the Chinese virus, falsely claiming that BJP IT cell is targeting the entire Muslim community for the “foolishness” of the Tablighi Jamaat.