Worried about post-poll violence in Bengal? Fact check before forwarding pictures & videos

Most of the violence-related pictures and videos circulating on social media by RW leaders and journalists are fake

Kolkata: Bollywood actor Kangana Ranaut’s account has been suspended permanently by Twitter. The PM has contacted the governor. Dilip Ghosh has been demanding for the oath ceremony to be postponed, while BJP has officially moved to the Apex court demanding for President’s rule in Bengal. All this has happened within 48 hours of the thumping victory of TMC in the recently concluded Bengal Assembly Polls.

Post-poll violence is not new to Bengal. The state has a history of such violence.

But what is alarming this time is the speed and timing of news or rather fake news (see the two collage in the story) related to post-poll violence being circulated on social media. Speaking about the issue, social activist and documentary maker Kasturi Basu, said, “We are against any form of political violence – be it pre or post-poll. We condemn such acts. The recently elected government, police and administration need to spring into action to contain such instances, which many big political leaders are trying to project as communal violence.”

She mentioned, “Also, I would like to question the Election Commission. Why is it quiet? The central forces are here, why are they being used to restore peace? Or is there an agenda?”

Hinting at the timing during which several posts related to post-poll violence in Bengal went viral she said, “I would like to question the political leaders who are tweeting them – have they cross-checked before posting? If not then why did they post? There have been instances of violence in which people from every party have been targeted. Instead of communalising it, every party should ask its cadres to refrain from such actions. People should be made accountable for not just inciting violence but also for sharing communally charged fake posts.”

In the past few hours, Pratik Sinha of Alt News has busted several fake posts, where either old photos or videos of mob violence had been used to depict violence in Bengal. He told to eNewsroom, “Debunking is still in progress. There is so much more. We have talked to police officers and have confirmed about the news being fake along with following our procedure to debunk such news.”

fake news bengal post-poll violence bjp
Another set of fake news debunked by fact-checkers

The Alt News Founder pointed out, “Based on the trend that we are seeing on posts related to post-election violence in Bengal, I can say that there is a definitive attempt to ignite emotion to create a divide by putting the Hindu majority in victim mode.”

On being asked what should a person who receives such posts do, he said, “Remember, this is a psychological game that is being played. So, don’t just check your emotions but also facts before hitting on the forward button.”

Basu added, “We need to be careful about sharing posts or forwards related to such violence, as we by now very well know how the BJP operates. They work in a swift, planned way. If you will check the timeline of the Twitter storm that took place concerning the post-poll violence, then you will notice that it began yesterday in the afternoon and ended at night and today they even reached the Apex Court demanding for President’s Rule.”

Another activist who didn’t want to be named, pointed out, “The governor of Bengal is tweeting about the violence, tagging the outgoing government, forgetting that he is the custodian of the state till the oath ceremony takes place. Why isn’t he doing something? What is he waiting for?”

Demanding action against fake news spreaders, Basu said, “Leaders like Kailash Vijayvargiya, Sambit Patra should be booked for spreading communally charged fake news. It’s quite interesting to see the same house that has been torched being shared by both BJP and CPI (M).

There has been political killing in Kerala too yesterday. I am not justifying what is happening here. All that I am saying is that all forms of violence should come to an end. I hope the party that has got such a huge majority just to keep out fascist forces pays heed and brings an end to it.”

When eNewsroom contacted TMC’s MP Saugato Roy, he said, “We are aware of what is happening and the fact that BJP has approached the Apex Court regarding President’s rule. Let them do so. We will do the needful once the oath ceremony is over.”

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