“14 लेन का हाईवे बढ़ने से चोरी बढ़ेगी, हजारो पेड़ काटे जाएंगे, प्रदुषण बढेगा!” If 14-lane highway is built, it will lead to rise in theft and pollution- translated“. There is a page on Facebook named Hindustan Support Modi, which has posted an image on May 29, 2018 and attributed these words to journalist Ravish Kumar. This image with the quote has been shared more than 8500 times from this page alone which has almost one lakh followers. The post also says, “ये हैं पत्रकार के नाम पर कलंक, देश में कुछ काम हो या ना हो, इन्हें आलोचना करनी ही करनी!” (He is a shame to journalists. Even if development takes place, he will only criticise- translated) On the top left side of the post, the logo of Hindustan SupporT Modi can be seen.

इनके लिए 2 शब्द कहें??

Posted by Hindustan SupporT – Modi on Tuesday, May 29, 2018

This image has also been posted by the page Youth India. This page has more than 22 lakh followers. At the time of writing, it had been shared over 3500 times. The page I Support Modi has posted this image among its 14 lakh followers who have shared it over 2000 times. It has also been posted by the page ‘हिंदुत्व से बढ़कर कोई धर्म नहीं”गौ गीता गंगा और गायत्री’ which has more than 1 lakh followers.

It has also been posted on Facebook by many individual users and has been shared on numerous pages which have followers in lakhs. Another page ‘गर्व से कहो भारतीय हो’ has posted a slightly tweaked version of this quote. This page has a whopping 58 lakh followers.

‘गर्व से कहो भारतीय हो’ page writes, ”हद होती है दलाल पत्रकारिता की भी 14 लेन रोड बनने के बाद उद्घाटन होने पर रिपोर्टर रवीश कुमार का बयान। 14 लेन रोड बनने से गाड़ियाँ दिल्ली से मेरठ में 45 मिनट में बेच दी जाएगी और रोड बनने से प्रदुषण बढ़ेगा।” There is a limit to pandering. Reporter Ravish Kumar’s statement after inauguration of road: Building of 14 lane road will lead to cars being stolen and sold from Delhi to Meerut in 45 minutes, and it will result in rise in pollution- translated). This post has been shared over 2000 times.

Posted by गर्व से कहो भारतीय हो on Thursday, May 31, 2018

This page had earlier posted another fake quote of Kumar which said, ““मुझे दुःख है कि मोदी जैसा गुंडा मेरे देश का प्रधानमंत्री है” (I am pained that a goon like Modi is the country’s Prime Minister- translated) which was spread widely on WhatsApp. In the image below the logo of ‘गर्व से कहो भारतीय हो’ can be seen. We have observed that for pages which have following in lakhs, their images in their posts are embossed with the logo of the page.

PM Modi on May 27, 2018 had inaugurated the first phase of the 14-lane Delhi-Meerut expressway. After this event, some of the pages with massive following had posted this quote and attributed it to Ravish Kumar following which it became viral.

This quote is viral on Twitter as well.

“बीसयों हज़ार पेड़ काटकर “दिल्ली मेरठ हाईवे” बनाने से कितना प्रदूषण फैलेगा …क्या इसका अंदाजा है इस मोदी सरकार को दिल्ली और मेरठ के लोगों की जिंदगी नरक हो जाएगी” (Cutting of 20 lakh trees to build the Delhi-Meerut highway will lead to such pollution…does the Modi Govt realise this the life of the people of Meerut will become hell- translated). With these words, this quote said to be of Ravish Kumar has also circulated widely on WhatsApp.

Alt News contacted Ravish Kumar over this viral quote. He said, “मैंने इस तरह का बयान नहीं दिया है। इस तरह के मीम बनाकर काफ़ी वायरल किए जा रहे हैं। मुझे कई मेसेज मिले जिसमें इसके हवाले से मेरे चैनल को और मुझे भला बुरा कहा गया जबकि इस तरह का बयान मैंने नहीं दिया और न ही चैनल पर चला। सच बात ये है कि जिस दिन प्रधानमंत्री इस सड़क का उद्घाटन कर रहे थे उस दिन मैं दफ़्तर ही नहीं गया। तो चैनल पर बोलने का सवाल ही पैदा नहीं होता। मैं अपने आधिकारिक फ़ेसबुक पेज @RavishKaPage पर लिखता हूँ, वहाँ भी कुछ नहीं लिखा, फिर ये कौन लोग हैं जो मेरे नाम से ये बयान चला रहे हैं। हाल ही में गीता रेप मामले में मेरे नाम से झूठा बयान बनाकर वायरल किया गया ताकि लोगों को भड़काया जा सके। इस बार भी वही कोशिश है। जिस तरह के पेज से यह प्रयास हो रहा है उससे साबित होता है कि संगठित राजनीतिक प्रयास है। मैं प्रधानमंत्री का उम्मीदवार भी घोषित नहीं हुआ हूँ फिर भी ये लोग हर मसले पर मेरे नाम से बयान बनाकर चलाते हैं, पाठकों को भड़काते हैं। क्या पता इन्हें लगता हो कि इस वक़्त मैं ही चुनौती हूँ उस पद पर बैठे उनके नेता नरेंद्र मोदी के लिए। यह कितना दुखद है। एक बीजेपी और प्रधानमंत्री मोदी के लिए प्रचार करने वाले फ़ेसबुक पन्नों और व्हाट्स अप समूहों के ज़रिए मेरे ख़िलाफ़ लोगों को भड़काया जा रहा है।” (I have not made any such statement. Such memes have been made viral. I got many messages in which my channel and I have been abused when I have never said this and nor has the channel. The truth is that on the day when PM Modi inaugurated the highway, I had not gone to office. So there is no question of having said this on the channel. I usually write on my official page @RavishKaPage but I havent written anything there, so who are these people who are circulating statements in my name? Recently, a fake quote related to the Geeta rape case was spread widely so that people can be provoked. The same attempt has been made this time. The kind of pages from which this is happening suggests that this is an organised political effort. I have not been declared a PM candidate, still these people make quotes in my name and spread them, and provoke people. Possibly they feel that at this point in time, I am the only one questioning the leadership of Narendra Modi. It is sad that pages that campaign for PM Modi and BJP and WhatsApp groups are being use to incite people- translated)

We recently saw how Ravish Kumar was called and abused from different phone numbers. Not just that, he was also openly threatened with murder in a video. This is not the first time that Ravish Kumar has been targeted via a fake quote. Alt News had earlier reported how in the rape case of 11-year old Geeta, a fake quote was shared widely, according to which he had equated rape with consent. Another fake quote had been circulated at the time when Govt had announced electrification of every village.

Citizens who target journalists because they may hold ideologically different views ought to understand that diversity of opinion and ideology is a necessary pre-condition for a healthy democracy.

About the Author

She specializes in information verification, examining mis/disinformation, social media monitoring and platform accountability. Her aim is to make the internet a safer place and enable people to become informed social media users. She has been a part of Alt News since 2018.