Ever since The Wall Street Journal published a report on August 14 alleging that a senior executive of the social media giant Facebook was allegedly favouring the BJP, the Congress party and its ecosystem have been continuously targetting the Ankhi Das, the public policy director of Facebook.
The Congress party and its ecosystem, citing the WSJ report, had alleged that Ankhi Das had opposed action against BJP and Hindutva figures accused of hate speech. However, neither WSJ nor the Congress and its ecosystem had provided substantial proofs to back their claim.
As the allegations made against Ankhi Das by the Congress party and few media networks began to fall apart, the Congress party trolls began to attack Das personally and made wild allegations claiming that she had links with RSS-affiliated groups.
Congress troll Saket Gokhale spreads fake news
One such allegation was made by Saket Gokhale, a known sympathiser of the Congress party and a troll, who alleged that Ankhi Das had links with RSS-affiliated groups.
On Saturday, Gokhale had claimed that Ankhi Das had “attends sessions” of the World Organization of Students & Youth (WOSY), a youth group, which is led by her sister, Rashmi Das. The Congress troll also said that WOSY’s office was located in the same building as an RSS outfit in Delhi.
In a hurry to target Ankhi Das, Gokhale went on to post an image of the WOSY event to claim that Ankhi Das was attending the event. However, the image of a person, who he had attached in his post did not belong to Ankhi Das, instead, it was her twin sister Dr Rashmi Das.
It was Rashmi Das, who was present at the event and not Ankhi Das. It is pertinent to note that Rashmi Das was also an office-bearer of the ABVP in Jawaharlal Nehru University.
ABVP, WOSY responds to fake claims
As Saket Gokhale resorted to usual antics of spreading fake news on social media platforms, both the ABVP and WOSY schooled Saket Gokhale over the allegations. The WOSY has even threatened legal action against him.
In a statement issued on its Twitter handle, WOSY said that the claim that Ankhi Das attended its sessions was “completely false even to this day”. It noted that Rashmi Das has been with WOSY for over two decades. WOSY also added that Dr Rashmi Das’s association with it was purely voluntary in nature and aimed to spread the concept of ‘Vasudeva Kuttambakam’ among international students living in India.
WOSY takes strong objection to the fake news peddled by Mr Saket Gokhale about our former Chairperson Dr Rashmi Das & her sister.— WOSY (@wosy_org) August 16, 2020
WOSY demands an apology from @SaketGokhale for misusing Dr Rashmi Das’ picture & insinuating that Ms Ankhi Das attended WOSY conference. pic.twitter.com/1Gvj3pztmE
WOSY also demanded Gokhale take down his post on the issue and publicly apologise, failing which it would be “constrained to pursue legal action against his vilification, spreading fake news and fomenting hatred and unrest”.
ABVP’s JNU unit also put out a statement on Sunday, slamming Gokhale for his false allegations against Rashmi Das and said that the act was a “recent show of cheap attention-seeking behaviour” and “false news” by the Congress. It described Saket Gokhale as a “string-puppet journalist” of the Congress.
The ABVP described Saket Gokhale as a “known follower and fan of Rahul Gandhi” and said that he lived by spreading fake news and false propaganda “under the patronage of the Congress”.
Never hid my ABVP ties:
Meanwhile, Dr Rashmi Das, the twin sister of Ankhi Das, reacted to the controversy, saying that she is being attacked because of her political leanings.
Speaking to Times of India, Rashmi Das, who is two minutes older than Ankhi, said she never hid her association with the ABVP.
“I was with ABVP at JNU, where I did my PhD in international relations. I was general secretary of the students’ union. My work with ABVP and Sangh organisations has been public knowledge for 25 years,” she said.
Interestingly, both the sisters have studied at JNU. Dr Rashmi Das said that it is strange that she was being subjected to humiliation. Ankhi and I are identical twins and I can neither hide my identity nor my past or ongoing work, she added.
Responding to false allegations made by Saket Gokhale, Rashmi Das said, “That I am her sister is being shown as some kind of revelation. My image has been passed off as hers to say Ankhi attended a WOSY event. That’s fake”.