As the coronavirus crisis grips the nation, the political sphere is rampant with blatant atempts to peddle fake news and create a negative image, poverty porn is often the most used tool on this regard.
In yet another attempt, the Congress party took to Twitter on May 16 to share a set of two videos captioning it in Hindi as: “फर्क- मानवता का। भाजपा ने कोरोना संकट के दौरान खाने के लिए तरसते गरीब देशवासियों से मुँह मोड़ लिया, जबकि कांग्रेस ने संकट की इस घड़ी में देशवासियों के लिए अपने कार्यालयों को “रसोई” बना दिया” which roughly means: “The difference of Humanity. BJP turned its back on poor countrymen yearning for food during Corona crisis but Congress converted its headquarters into kitchens for countrymen during these trying times”.
While the heart-rending video of a man, eating leftovers thrown on the railway track, shared on the left-hand side of the post reads in Hindi: “भाजपा: गरीबों को दाने दाने के लिए तरसाती है” roughly translated as (BJP: Makes poor people yearn for a single grain of food), another video of Congress workers providing food to the needy shared on the right-hand side read in Hindi: “कांग्रेस: गरीबों को खाना खिलाती है”, meaning (Congress: Feeds the poor).
Through this tweet, Congress once again tries to insinuate that BJP government is completely merciless and indifferent towards the marginalised section of the society who have been hit drastically during the lockdown.
It attempts to score a brownie point by drawing a parallel between BJP government who it says is turning a blind eye towards the stranded, poor and starved migrant labourers travelling home by foot as compared to the Congress which has been looking after the poor in the time of need.
The tweet’s archived version can be seen here.
फर्क- मानवता का।— Congress (@INCIndia) May 16, 2020
भाजपा ने कोरोना संकट के दौरान खाने के लिए तरसते गरीब देशवासियों से मुँह मोड़ लिया, जबकि कांग्रेस ने संकट की इस घड़ी में देशवासियों के लिए अपने कार्यालयों को “रसोई” बना दिया। pic.twitter.com/w2OuKvZW8D
The video has also been shared on Facebook with similar claims.
The Truth behind the video
However, in its haste to malign the Modi government, the Congress has once again tries to pass off an old video as a recent one. The left video of a man eating leftovers thrown on the railway track is indeed an August 2019 video.
The video had been uploaded on YouTube channel O.M.G Page 2 on August 21 last year with a caption ‘Please don’t waste your food. Really heart touching’. At 0.21 seconds into the video, one can see the same clip of the man eating leftovers from the railway track, the one Congress claims to be a recent one.
This video was once again shared on March 1 this year by one Twitter user named Ravi Nair with the caption, ‘What is his religion’?
What is his religion? pic.twitter.com/NvzLhYFD4k— Ravi Nair (@t_d_h_nair) March 1, 2020
This act of passing off old images and videos as recent ones to hit out at the government has become a usual tactic by opposition leaders and their media counterparts.
Former journalist Shahid Siddiqui uses similar tactics to malign Modi Govt
Today, in a similar attempt, former journalist Shahid Siddiqui tweeted a video of a mother and a toddler sitting on a thin rim connecting two compartments of a fast-moving train. He shared the video of the duo with the intention of criticising the government.
However, it panned out that the video was uploaded on Youtube by a channel named Kaushik on September 13, 2016. The video which has about 864 views at the time of writing this article is accompanied by a caption that reads, “Most dangerous train journey in the world (2016)/ Bangladeshi Mother and Child.”
Congress, a repeat offender
On May 12, taking to Twitter, Congress’ SC department shared an old image of a Rohingya refugee in Bangladesh to attack the central government for its alleged inefficiency of handling of the migrant worker’s issue.
Sharing the image through the official Twitter handle, Dalit Congress wrote that Modi govt should envisage the helplessness to the faces of these people and do something to help them.
Moreover, ‘journalist’ Vinod Dua, like the Congress party had also used the same image to berate BJP government.
Twitter user Ankur Singh, however, was quick to spot the lie. Sharing a screenshot of a news report from 2017, the Twitter user pointed out that this image is of some Rohingya refugees in Cox Bazaar, Bangladesh, taken in 2017.