Kerala is now slowly recovering from the devastating floods which have been touted as the worst in last 100 years. Hundreds of people were killed and property worth about Rs 20,000 crore was damaged. Help poured in from all quarters in this time of need. However, around this time of tragedy, a lot of fake news has cropped up.
One among them is the fake news shared by an ex-IPS officer of Gujarat cadre, Sanjiv Bhatt. It is to be noted that Bhatt enjoys a large number of followers on Twitter, that is more than 3,50,000 people. Bhatt, on August 20, shared an image of what appears to be Electricity board workers trying to fix the electric poles in rain. Bhatt has captioned the image, saying, “Kerala State Electricity Board workers trying to restore power even while facing heavy rains. This photograph was taken 5 days ago. Now you know why Modi and his Sanghi Thugs viscerally hate Kerala.”
Kerala State Electricity Board workers trying to restore power even while facing heavy rains. This photograph was taken 5 days ago. Now you know why Modi and his Sanghi Thugs viscerally hate Kerala. pic.twitter.com/uzYAVhLfZY
— Sanjiv Bhatt (IPS) (@sanjivbhatt) August 21, 2018
It turns out that although it is an image from Kerala, it is an old one and has been around for quite some time now. As reported by Navbharat Times, the said image is from 2016. It was used in a Mathrabhoomi article titled, “Stop bothering about power cuts, KSEB will tell you when power will be back”.
After people pointed out his blunder, Bhatt issued an apology on his Twitter handle, however, he maintained that the underpinning of his “argument remains the same”
It has been pointed out to me that this is an old picture. My apologies, but the underpinning of my argument remains the same. Salute the spirit of Kerala in the face of such adversity. ♥️
— Sanjiv Bhatt (IPS) (@sanjivbhatt) August 22, 2018
Not the first time
In September 2017, Bhatt shared an image of a woman being manhandled by a police official. He captioned it, “# RamRajya: Where women protesting against molestation are molested. 🙁 #BHU”
He implied that women were being molested in Banaras Hindu University while taking a jibe at Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath. It was then reported by Social Media Hoax Slayer, that the image was from Patna and the case was that of students protesting against the Bihar School Examination Board. Upon backlash, he deleted the tweet.
Recently too, on July 24, he shared a side-by-side image of Adolf Hitler and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, both holding a child’s ears in the respective pics. The photo captioned as “Spot the difference” was shared over 1800 times as well.
Spot the difference. pic.twitter.com/yI1fyIOdos
— Sanjiv Bhatt (IPS) (@sanjivbhatt) July 25, 2018
According to Alt News, a reverse image search of Hitler’s photo on Google suggests that Hitler isn’t holding the girl’s ears but is resting his hands on her shoulder. Moreover, the fake news busting website also mentioned how PM Modi’s hands seem to be a reverse photoshop of Hitler’s hands.
The Logical Indian take
Bhatt has been a repeat offender when it comes to posting fake news. Although he has clarified that the image shared by him was an old one, considering that he has over 3.5 lakh followers just on Twitter, he has to apply huge discretion while sharing such information. Fake news is not a small problem, because of such misinformation, lives have been lost. So, it is extremely important that every information one share is duly verified.