3 Fake News about Rohingyas by right wing handles busted, also read tips to verify fake news

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Manipulated or false content with propaganda against the Rohingyas crisis is on the rise.

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Several misinformation and hoaxes are been shared lately and passed off on social media, as apathy of Rohingya children or miseries of Hindus in Myanmar. Some of the images and stories that have gone viral, were later found to be totally baseless and untrue.

(I) Twitter handle of Advocate Prashant P. Umrao running a handle @ippatel with a following of 22.9k twitter followers, posted an image of a sick child suffering from a liver disease in Brazil and termed it of a pregnant Rohingya refugee girl at a UN clinic.

However, a video of the same girl emerged on a post from Facebook, where she is seen speaking in Portuguese about wanting to meet the Brazilian actor, singer, dancer and TV presenter Rodrigo Faro.

Fact-checking website, Boom Live, reported that the girl was not pregnant and she may have been suffering from a liver disease.

The above video proved that the child was nowhere connected to Myanmar and Umrao had to embarrassingly delete his tweet.

Earlier the same handle had tweeted an image of Varnika Kundu posing with two boys, who Umrao had termed to be Vikas Barala and his friend alleged in recent Chandigarh stalking case. Kundu had rubbished the image, as the two boys in the picture were someone else and not Barala and his friend.

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(II) Ravinder Sangwan who runs a twitter handle by the name of @Shanknaad with 9.5k followers tweeted an image of a little girl holding an infant. Sangwan claimed in his tweet that the girl was 14 years old and had two children. Just from the image, he further claimed she was married to a 56-year old man who had six wives and 18 children.

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The image went viral went several comments on how Rohingyas children were tortured. However, shockingly the image was traced back to a video uploaded by BBC’s correspondent Sanjoy Majumder on 4 September, where the girl is seen as a part of the video, merely holding the child in her hands. It does not by any means mention that she is married or has two children.

Once again a right wing handle, whose posts get viral and make people form opinions without any verified background to it, was exposed uploading a fake post. Another right wing handle on Facebook, by the name of ‘India Rising’ had carried the same story.

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(III) Ashoke Pandit, a self proclaimed leader for Kashmiri Pandits, tweeted a fake video quoting a Rohingya Muslim man beating a Brahman in West Bengal in front of his daughter. He also tweeted, ‘During pooja in the house, bell sound should not be heard by anybody’.

Later the Kolkata Police via their tweet confirmed that this was wrong information and the family members of the victim girl manhandled the priest where he allegedly molested her.

Ashoke Pandit has reportedly deleted his misleading tweet.

The above brings to light two aspects:

1. Either the incorrect posts are randomly shared without verification of the source OR
2. The same are an organized dissemination of false information to evoke acute hatred against the Rohingyas

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As responsible citizens, we can follow the below tips, which will guide us in identifying ‘fake news’ as a layman:

1. Source is most crucial – do not rely on handles/websites which you are not aware of
2. Read Beyond – Question the story, do not consume everything that you read, as true
3. Author Checks – Do read more about the author, check his background
4. Supporting Sources – Is the post/article just a write up or has it been supported with links/backgrounds for the story?
5. Date – This is very crucial, as many a times an old story is shared relating it to a current disturbing trend
6. Serious/Joke – Do check the tone of the post, many a times it can be sarcasm or a joke
7. Image check – Use ‘Reverse Image’ tool in Google images. This is one of the tools frequently used to verify whether an image is real/photoshopped

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