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Nirjhari Sinha, Pratik Sinha and Mohammed Zubair: How Alt News “fact-checkers” have been spreading fake news for years

While their allies in the form of left ideologues bend over backwards to project Pratik Sinha, Nirjhari Sinha and Mohammed Zubair—senior members and co-founders of Alt News—as crusaders of sorts combating the firehose of misinformation online, there are umpteen incidents available in the public domain when the said individuals have been caught sharing fake news.

Besides their anti-Hindu tendencies, one of the enduring legacies of senior members and founders of leftist propaganda website Alt News is their penchant for peddling fake news. For some time now, Alt News has been at the vanguard of propagating misinformation under the pretext of carrying out “dispassionate” and “neutral” fact-checks that are invariably steeped in partisan prejudices and personal biases.

While their allies in the form of left ideologues and ideologically-aligned politicians bend over backwards to describe Pratik Sinha, Nirjhari Sinha and Mohammed Zubair—senior members and co-founders of Alt News—as crusaders of sorts combating the firehose of misinformation online, there are umpteen incidents available in the public domain when the said individuals have been caught sharing fake news.

Here is an indicative list of incidents when Alt News director Nirjhari Sinha, Alt News co-founders Pratik Sinha and Mohammed Zubair have resorted to sharing fake news while portraying themselves as “fact-checkers”.

Alt News Director Nirjhari Sinha

Nirjhari Sinha, a director at Alt News, has a long and sordid history of peddling fake news and making unsubstantiated claims that later turn out to be hoaxes. Recently, a Twitter user who goes by the handle @Gujju_Er shared a sample list of instances when Sinha was caught red-handed sharing fake news and propaganda.

While Alt News fashions itself as a “fact-checking” website that has mastered the art of “reverse-searching” images to debunk fake news, Sinha was once caught sharing a picture from 2004 to mock Gujarat Tourism Ads in 2016.

Sinha had also shared a picture of Lord Krishna pointing out the Moon to a group of people, seemingly to push the incorrect propaganda that the Hindu God was celebrating Eid with his Muslim brethren. After Sinha shared the misinformation, the “fact-checking” website where she is a director displayed the gall of “fact-checking” if Lord Krishna really celebrated Eid with Muslims or not.

In yet another instance, Sinha shared a video claiming it is of a raid on the Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary in Chennai. As it turned out, the video was from a raid on a law firm T&T in South Delhi. On another occasion, Nirjhari shared the cover of the invitation card for an event organised by the Gujarat government to mark the 125th birth anniversary of singer Zaverchand Meghnani. Citing the cover page, which had pictures of BJP leaders, Sinha claimed the government forgot to include the poster of Jhaverchand Meghnani, conveniently not revealing the fact that the invitation had 13 images of the singer in it.

One of the potent methods that Alt News has employed to continue pushing its propaganda while burnishing its “fact-checking” credentials is by first disseminating fake news and then “fact-checking” them. Nirjhari Sinha had once posted a fake news website link to claim PM Modi was the most corrupt PM in the world. Later on, Alt News fact-checked it saying the website was fake.

Nirjhari Sinha is particularly susceptible to fake news websites that publish articles and news that resonate with her political inclinations. She had shared fake news about BJP leaders supplying arms and ammunition to Naxals, opining that it “explained” why the BJP won in Naxal-affected areas.

Sinha had once shared a fake image attributed to Air India that said the airline is opening a new counter at major airports in the country for high-profile economic offenders looking for a safe passage out of India.

Sinha’s penchant for sharing fake news is not limited to the realm of politics alone. She had once posted two images saying they were “Award Winning Paintings” while in reality, it was digital art created by famous Instagram artist Maz Milly.

Alt News co-founder Pratik Sinha

Pratik Sinha, the co-founder of Alt News, has an equally unenviable record of peddling fake news.

In December 2020, a social media user @BefittingFacts took to Twitter to expose the AltNews co-founder Pratik Sinha for flooding social media platforms with fake and misleading information. The social media user highlighted that Sinha, a self-described ‘fact-checker’, has an inveterate habit of spreading lies and distortions and has been doing so with impunity for the last few years.

The social media user posted a string of tweets exposing Sinha for spreading misinformation and lies. He shared various instances when the so-called ‘fact-checker’ was caught red-handed for disseminating propaganda.

The Twitter user said that Sinha, a Hindu-hater masquerading as a ‘fact-checker’, made a career out of abusing and denigrating PM Modi through dubious portals such as Truth of Gujarat, eopinion and Alt News.

In the aftermath of demonetisation back in 2016, Sinha had shared images of people standing in long queues at financial institutes to allege that people had to go through hardships because of the Modi government’s decision. However, in doing so, Sinha shared a picture from 2014, about two years before the Demonetisation to portray that the decision had caused misery among people.

In another instance shared by the Twitter user, Sinha was caught using an image from 2004 to peddle the condition of cows in Gujarat in 2016. In the year 2016, Sinha shared another picture on his Twitter account where cows were seen lying on the road.

Sinha, in his bid to mock the Gau Rakshaks, commented, “Gau Matas rotting and being scavenged on in Gujarat. Where are the sons professing undying love for their mata?”

The image shared by Sinha was from 2004 when many cows had died because of Nitrate poisoning but Sinha felt no compunction in using a 12-year-old picture to ridicule the Gau Rakshaks.

Sinha also actively participated in perpetuating the lie regarding PM Modi’s alleged promise to transfer Rs 15 lakhs to bank accounts if elected to power.

Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair

Mohammed Zubair, who is currently lodged in jail over his Hinduphobic tweets insulting Hindu Gods, too, has been exposed numerous times for his habit of sharing fake news and motivated propaganda.

Earlier in September 2020, activist Ankur Singh took it upon himself to show how Zubair is more of a weapon to spread misinformation, which could not only subvert Indian democracy but also pose a threat to it.

In an inordinately long Twitter thread spanning over 25 tweets, Singh meticulously exposed Mohammed Zubair’s dangerous games of spreading misinformation and many times deleted those tweets once they go viral without quite issuing a clarification. That way, many times, the screenshots of fake or misleading news go viral but the fact that he deleted the same after being called out for his lies does not.

Mohammed Zubair through his parody account of BJP leader Subramanian Swamy where he initially portrayed himself as an anonymous troll, regularly indulged in sharing old, unrelated information as if it was a current incident.

Singh highlighted how Zubair was spreading misinformation amidst the raging coronavirus outbreak that could have led to chaos and, thereby, a law and order situation. He also came to the defence of Islamists during the Sri Lanka terror attack.

In fact, AltNews has often worked as an Islamic propaganda website using the shield of fact-checks which is more palatable to their already gullible readers. You can read more about the lies of Mohammed Zubair here where he goes from shielding Islamists to politicising rapes.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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