On July 22, the Income Tax Department raided several offices of the Dainik Bhaskar Group, a leading Hindi daily in India. In its response to the raid, the media outlet said, “Government scared of honest journalism: Government raids Bhaskar Group, which exposed the real death figures of COVID-19 corpses in the Ganga.”
It is noteworthy that there was a lot of uproar in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha over the raids, with sessions in both houses getting stalled. Following this, a screenshot of a tweet by a handle that used Dainik Bhaskar in its username was widely shared on social media. It read, “I will not get scared because I’m no Veer Savarkar. I am free because I am Dainik Bhaskar.”
Numerous users shared the screenshot while fiercely criticising Dainik Bhaskar. Many of these posts were accompanied by an appeal to boycott the Hindi daily. At the same time, several others were circulating the image as proof of the strength and independence of the media outlet.
Another user posted the viral picture along with a screengrab which showed he has deleted the Dainik Bhaskar app.
Suresh Joshi of the BJP also shared the screenshot while targeting the newspaper.
Abhishek Kumar of the RJD targeted Dainik Bhaskar too. His tweet amassed over 4,000 likes and over 250 shares as of this writing.
Sharing the screenshot, Facebook page ‘हमारा हिंदुस्तान प्यारा सा हिन्दुस्तान‘ (Our Lovely India) wrote, “This tweet is like a tight slap to the face.” The post racked up over 1,000 likes and was shared by over 200 times users. The image was extremely widespread on Facebook.
It is clear that the Twitter account associated with the viral screenshot is fake because the official Twitter handle of Dainik Bhaskar is @DainikBhaskar. Alt News performed a Twitter search using ‘@DainkBhaskar1’ to find out more about this account. We can confirm that at present, no account with this username exists.
We discovered that the username of the Twitter handle has been changed. But this username still appears in replies to tweets posted by this account.
Alt News found some old tweets from the account on Internet Archive. When we clicked on one of the archived tweets, we were redirected to the updated @DainikBhaskara (archive link) account. This tweet was liked more than 27,000 times and garnered over 6,000 retweets.
The bio of the account with the new username clearly states that it is a parody account. In addition to this, the display picture also reads ‘parody’.
A parody account was therefore believed to be the genuine Dainik Bhaskar account.