In the age of fake photos being used by BJP leaders to gain electoral mileage, one more party leader has been caught resorting to deceit to inflame situation in Bengal, where some parts have been gripped by communal violence.
BJP’s Nupur Sharma on Saturday posted a tweet asking people to join at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar to ‘save Bengal’ and ‘Hindus.’
Her tweet said, “Speak-up because it is already too late! Join in at 5 PM today at Jantar Mantar #SaveBengal #SaveHindus.”
However, the image posted along with her tweet was from the anti-Muslim genocide of 2002 in Gujarat, where more than 2,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed during Narendra Modi’s reign as the state’s chief minister.
The same photo has appeared in many stories related to Gujarat’s anti-Muslim genocide in many newspapers and on websites in the past. The most notable amongst them is by The New York Times on 2 June 2016 when an article by Ellen Barry carried the same photo.
The photo used by Sharma passing it off as an image from Bengal had appeared in Barry’s article titled ’24 Convicted in Massacre of Muslims During Gujarat Riots in India.’
This image was also used by pro-government Hindi newspaper, Jagran, in April 2014 when the paper carried a story on Gujarat riots of 2002 titled ‘Reprieve for lawyers representing Gujarat riots victims.’
A mere Google search using ‘Gujarat riots 2002’ will throws up innumerable links carrying the same photo used by Sharma linking it to Bengal riots.
The Gujarat photo was used in protest rally billed as Save Bengal, from where the BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP Swapan Dasgupta too addressed the crowd.
— Shailesh (@HindustaniTweet) July 8, 2017
Enraged by the blatant use of a fake photo to polarise sentiments among Hindus, demands are now growing for Twitter to suspend Sharma’s account.
Noted music director, Vishal Dadlani tweeted, “Images from 2002 Guj. riots to promote communal hatred in Bengal. Why hasn’t this account been reported/shut-down?”
— VISHAL DADLANI (@VishalDadlani) July 9, 2017
Sharma’s Twitter bio says that she’s a BJP spokesperson, a columnist, who’s studied from London School of Economics. She had unsuccessfully contested against Delhi chief minister, Arvind Kejriwal in 2015 assembly elections.
Sharma tweeting a fake photo to further inflame an already fragile situation in Bengal has come on the day Kolkata Police arrested one person for sharing an image from a Bhojpuri film to allege brutalities against Hindu women in Bengal.
A senior office-bearer of the BJP from Haryana, Vijeta Malik, had used the photo on her Facebook page implying that the women whose sari was being pulled lived in Bengal. Even though this was a still from Bhojpuri film, Aurat Khilona Nahi, starring BJP MP and Delhi President Manoj Tiwari.