West Bengal BJP falsely declares India Today journalist dead in post-poll violence; issues clarification after reporter says he’s alive


West Bengal BJP has had to face public ridicule for falsely claiming that an India Today journalist was killed in post-poll violence in the state. The Hindutva party had mischievously used the photo of India Today journalist Abhro Banerjee in its video to claim him to be one ‘Manik Moitro’ who had died in Sitalkuchi. However, the BJP was soon left red-faced after Banerjee took to Twitter to declare that he was alive and the photo used by the Hindutva party was his and not of Manik Moitro.

Banerjee tweeted, “I am Abhro Banerjee, living and hale and hearty and around 1,300 km away from Sitalkuchi. BJP IT Cell is now claiming I am Manik Moitra and died in Sitalkuchi. Please don’t believe these fake posts and please don’t worry. I repeat: I am (still) alive.”

In his subsequent tweet, Banerjee asked, “What if-what if this video was not about a person, who has allegedly died of post-poll violence, but about someone, who is accused in a murder or for that matter.”

Left red-faced, the BJP issued a statement saying that it had ‘erroneously’ used the India Today journalist’s picture claiming it to be that of one Manik Moitro’s. It said, “The image of Mr. Abhro Banerjee was erroneously included in the video while using the article by him as a source for the content.”

The BJP has come under heavy criticism for using fake videos and images to accuse the Trinamool Congress of unleashing widespread violence immediately after the party led by Mamata Banerjee won a landslide in the just-concluded assembly polls.

One such video was used by BJP worker Priti Gandhi from her Twitter handle. She was, however, forced to delete the video after the West Bengal CID said that criminal action was being initiated against her for peddling fake news.

The Kolkata Police too have launched a helpline number and dedicated an email address for people to report fake news.

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