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Wikipedia editors delete profiles of those who praised ‘The Kashmir Files’, had earlier vandalised movie page: Here is what we know so far

Many notable personalities, including Chaiti Narula and Tuhin Sinha, have alleged that their Wikipedia pages were either vandalised or deleted after they had lavished praises on Vivek Agnihotri's recent film 'The Kashmir Files'.

On March 22, multiple complaints were raised on Twitter by prominent personalities that their Wikipedia pages were either vandalised or deleted. They alleged the reason behind the deleted or vandalising of Wikipedia pages was they praised Vivek Agnihotri’s recent film ‘The Kashmir Files’. OpIndia investigated the matter and found reasons to believe that the allegations were, in fact, true.

Allegations and findings against Wikipedia

First, let’s talk about the allegations made by Tuhin A Sinha, National Media Panelist, BJP. On March 22, Sinha tweeted that Wikipedia had deleted his page that had existed since 2007. He said, “The only thing that may have irked them in last few days is my support four #KashmirFiles n me calling out Cong supported Jihad network.”

In a follow-up tweet, Sinha mentioned that a Wikipedia user Shirt58 was behind the page’s removal. Upon investigation, we found that a newly created page existed on Wikipedia under his name, which was scheduled for deletion as per the Wikipedia regulations that suggested a deleted page cannot be recreated.

History of recently created page on Tuhin Sinha on Wikipedia. Source: Wikipedia

For this page, Shirt58 had applied for speedy deletion. However, later the tag was removed as the page was edited. However, it was again nominated for deletion by Star Mississippi. As there were no captures on Archive.org for the talk section or history available on Wikipedia for the old page, it is unclear who submitted it for deletion in the first place. The discussion on its deletion can be read here.

The next step was to check if there were any achieved records for the page. We found multiple captures on Archive.org for Sinha’s Wikipedia page. The last capture was from March 11, 2022. It showed a detailed page on Sinha. Unfortunately, the history and talk sections of the page were not achieved.

Last capture of the old page of Tuhin Sinha on Wikipedia. Source: Archive.org

Speaking to OpIndia, Sinha said, “My Wikipedia page existed since 2006-2007 when I wrote my first book. So I was very shocked yesterday night to find that the page does not exist after somebody informed me he could not go to the page. Initially, I thought it could be a technical error. In the morning today, I again discovered that the page was not functional.”

He added, “I approached a couple of people who had edited Wikipedia pages in the past. I was actually informed that the page had been deleted. Now I am absolutely appalled that there is clearly somebody from the left ecosystem which is keeping a watch on everybody who is speaking in favour of The Kashmir Files and who is calling out the left-liberal ecosystem on the issue. Because I have been very proactive in speaking in favour of The Kashmir Files as a panel representative and spokesperson of the BJP and also I have spoken a lot on the Kashmir issue in the last several years including having written a book on the issue.”

Adding that he was taking up the issue with authorities, he said, “So I am sure somebody is keeping a watch. Somebody does not want the truth of the Kashmir massacre to be out. It is very surprising that in India today, the big tech companies somewhere employ sleeper cells within the country to curb the freedom of speech of right-wing nationals, and I am taking up the issue. Let’s see where it goes.”

In a follow-up tweet, Tuhin sought if Wikipedia has an office in India as other tech companies have to follow the laws of the land, and Wikipedia should be forced to comply as well.

Allegations made by Chaiti Narula

A few hours before Tuhin’s tweet, Chaiti Narula had also pointed out that her Wikipedia page was heavily vandalised. She said, “The same guy who wiped out my review of #KashmirFiles from Wikipedia completely vandalised my wiki profile. If I knew who made mine, I would have taken it up. But I have no clue. Heads up – the profile is hacked, vandalised by this chap.”

She further added in a follow-up tweet that someone in his circle found that the person who vandalised her profile was the same person who vandalised The Kashmir Files page, and both edits were being done at the same time.

Upon investigation, we noticed that her Wikipedia page had been deleted.

Screenshot of deleted page of Chaiti Narula on Wikipedia

When checked for archived snapshots of her Wiki page, we found that it was captured once on March 18, 2022. When we checked the archived page, it was evident that TrangaBellam, the same person who was continuously vandalising The Kashmir Files page on Wikipedia, was behind the request to delete the page. As no one countered the request, the page was deleted on March 20, 2022. The date can be noticed on the Deletion Request Notice available on the archived page.

Screenshot of the archived page of Chaiti Narula. Source: Archive.org

We also found that the page was created by a user, Gocrazy69, in October 2019.

Gocrazy69 had created Chaiti’s profile on Wikipedia in 2019. Source: Wikipedia.

When he found that the page was deleted by TrangaBellam, he had requested him to restore it, but by the time we published the report, TrangaBellam had not replied. In the reason for the proposed deletion, TrangaBellam had mentioned that the page needed some edits as proposed, and if no action was taken, the page could be deleted.

Gocrazy69 requested TrangaBellam to restore Chaiti’s page. Source: Wikipedia

A few things that must be known about Wikipedia

First of all, Wikipedia is an open-source encyclopedia that started with the aim to provide the latest updates about everything, including people, countries, things and events etc. However, as time passed by, the left-leaning elements took over the powers, which was confirmed by the founder himself in an interview with OpIndia.

Because Wikipedia can be edited and on multiple occasions, it has been pointed out that the editors are often biased towards political and religious sides of their choice, the website must not be considered as a genuine source of information. Now, let’s come to the interesting part of the discussion. Do you know what Wikipedia itself says about being a source of reliable information? Well, as per Wikipedia, and we are not changing the words, “Wikipedia is not a reliable source for academic writing or research. Nevertheless, Wikipedia is increasingly used by people in the academic community, from first-year students to distinguished professors, as an easily accessible tertiary source for information about anything and everything and as a quick “ready reference” to get a sense of a concept or idea.”

Screenshot taken from Wikipedia on March 23, 2022, at 20:46. We are mentioning the date and time as it can be edited by anyone without any notice.

It further reads, “However, citation of Wikipedia in research papers may be considered unacceptable because Wikipedia is not a reliable source. Many colleges and universities, as well as public and private secondary schools, have policies that prohibit students from using Wikipedia as their source for doing research papers, essays, or equivalent assignments. This is because anyone can edit Wikipedia at any moment. When an error is recognised, it is usually fixed. However, because Wikipedia cannot monitor thousands of edits made every day, some of those edits could contain vandalism or could be simply wrong and left unnoticed for days, weeks, months, or even years.”

When we looked at the links cited by Wikipedia itself about it is genuine or not as a reliable source, we noticed several links dated back to decades demanding its ban in the academic circle. In a 2006 article by Andrew Orlowski at The Register, it was discussed how using Wikipedia could harm the grades of the students. In 2007, in an article in The Guardian, it was mentioned that the students had been warned not to cite Wikipedia.

It is noteworthy that anyone, literally anyone, can create, edit, vandalise and delete content on Wikipedia. It is up to senior editors of the website to allow or revert the change. In many cases, the editors or high-ranking contributors themselves make decisions that could be otherwise deemed unethical in the field of academia. With the recent chain of events revolving around The Kashmir Files and the deletion of profiles of celebrated journalists and authors, it is clear that Wikipedia holds no authentication when it comes to unbiased and genuine content.

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Anurag
Anurag
B.Sc. Multimedia, a journalist by profession.

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