On 20th August, we published an investigative report about the Mamata government receiving appreciation from an organisation based in Japan that was apparently linked to the United Nations. It called itself the United Nation World Peace Association. During our investigation, we did not find any proof of their association with the United Nations. In their appreciation letter, they hailed West Bengal as Mamata Banerjee’s ‘kingdom’ and the message was shared by Trinamool Congress from its official handle.
After our story, All India Trinamool Congress has quietly removed the tweet describing the appreciation letter the West Bengal government got. However, Dr. Nirmal Maji still has the letter on his timeline on Twitter.
As it so happens, the organization did give them an appreciation letter, but it was not issued by the headquarters located in Japan. The Indian ambassador of the organization, Pinky Dutta, aka Priya Dutta, might have issued the letter, as suggested by the United Nation World Peace Association’s reply to OpIndia. The organization had first denied issuing any certificate that showed the appreciation letter was issued without taking prior permission of the UNWPA.
The news was covered by several news portals including Times of India, Deccan Herald and Outlook and many others. In fact, news agency PTI referred to the UNWPA as a ‘UN-linked NGO’, a claim that was carried by several outlets. The logo of the organisation appears to have been deliberately designed to give one the impression that it has some association with the United Nations. Furthermore, it calls itself United ‘Nation’ WPA and not United ‘Nations’.
These glaring bits should have rung the alarm bells but it appears that in their eagerness to shower applause on Mamata Banerjee, Trinamool Congress and the media merrily ignored them.