Kolkata: On May 13, minutes after TMC leader and Jamat-e-Ullema-e Hind, had staged a protest outside the Tipu Sultan Masjid, in a move to force the recently terminated imam of the masjid – Nurur Rehaman Barkati, a mob tried to lynch the cleric. With the mob getting out of control, the police deployed along with some of Barkati’s supporter, managed to make a safe passage for him to escape into his house within the mosque premise. This news was published by eNewsroom, after a Muslim activist Md Zim Nawaz had posted about it on his Facebook post, taking the credit of mobilizing a bunch of aggravated Muslims of the area, as the religious leader was causing communal unrest with his fatwas and irrelevant political comments. But, Hindutva.info had carried a news report, with no credibility, stating that Hindus and Rastravadi Muslims had thrashed the Barkati of Kolkata.
This is not the first time that local Muslim had posted against ‘fatwa cleric’. Earlier in February, the traders in and around the mosque area had gone on a strike, when Barkati and his henchmen has attacked the mutawalli and few others.
The Hindutva.info, plays a 41 seconds video clip of ETv, to validate its point. Sadly enough, neither the headline nor the content claiming that Barkari was bashed by Hindus is supported by the clip.
On contacting Salman Shahji, one of the few who had posted on Facebook about a mob trying to bash Barkati, he said, “No Hindus had attacked Barkati. It was Muslims only.”
The news also has another video linked to it. The second video is of the protest organised by Saddiqullah Choudhary, who is a TMC leader. Interestingly, it’s not just Choudhary or the Waqf board members or TMC leaders who have opposed and protested against the imam for his anti-national comments but also Bengal’s most circulated Urdu daily Akhbar-e-Mashriq, had been carrying so many stories on Barkati. On May 15, supporters of Barkati had even attacked the newspaper office. And next day, the Garden Reach Peace Movement Society, whose most members are Muslims burnt effigy of Barkati at Metiabruz.
This entire episode in a way is a fine example where Indian citizens have risen above religion to take up on a religious leader straight on, challenging his hegemony. However, instead of appreciating the nationalist sentiment of the community, certain news portals and communal leaders are planting fake news of Hindus beating up a religious leader of another community.
Enewsroom only took interest in the site, on being alerted how news was being twisted to cause communal unrest. And when we crosschecked, we found the website dishing out half-baked news, which were distorted to meet its agenda of creating a communal divide.
Alt News, a site, which exposes fake news sites, had done an investigative story on hindutva.info, and searched out who runs it. The site found, there’s a Rajesh Jindal who claims himself to be the founder of Hindutva.info on Quora and LinkedIn. Rajesh is cleverly using religion to forward one’s blogging career based on fake news.
Alt News had also found that Rajesh Jindal uses his Facebook account to cross post across multiple Facebook groups that have huge membership. He himself is the founder of a group called “Rohit Sardana and Sudhir Chaudhary Fan Club” which has close to 600k Members.