‘Yaad hai JNU ka Najeeb? ABVP, Hinduo, Modi par lagaya gaya tha isse gaayab karne ka aarop. Isne apni ammi ko telegram app par bheja hai sandesh, “Ammi maine isis join kar li, inshallah ab Allah ke liye jihad karunga”(Remember Najeeb from JNU? ABVP, Hindus, Modi were accused of making him disappear. He has now sent his mother a message through telegram, ‘Ammi I have joined ISIS. Insallah I will now wage jihad for Allah). This message continues to circulate widely on social media despite being fake. On the Facebook page Chitkar- Meri Aawaz suno, awaz Bharat ki which has over 250,000 followers, this post has been shared more than 4000 times.

#अम्मी_मैंने_ISIS_जॉइन_कर_ली, अब अल्लाह के लिए करूंगा जिहाद”, JNU का नजीब बना आतंकी

आपको JNU का छात्र नजीब याद है ? व…

Posted by चीत्कार। मेरी आवाज सुनो। आवाज भारत की on Sunday, February 25, 2018

There are a number of other pages too which are sharing this false information about Najeeb Ahmad. Another FB page named Swarnim Hind Ka Swarnim Sapna which has more than 260,000 followers too has shared it with the message, ‘Pehchana isse? arre apna najeeb. JNU wala Najeeb. Azadi gang wala Najeeb! Vami Kami giroh ka dulara Najeeb. JNU se direct placement hua hai ISIS mein. Syria se Rahul ji aur Kejri sir ji ko salaam bheja hai’ (Recognise him. He is our Najeeb. Najeeb from JNU. Najeeb of Azadi gang. Favourite of leftists. He has been placed in ISIS straight from JNU. He sends his greetings to Rahul ji and Kejri sir ji from Syria)

पहचाना इसे ??
अरे अपना नजीब…JNU वाला नजीब…आज़ादी गैंग वाला नजीब !!
वामी कामी गिरोह का दुलारा नजीब …JNU से डाइरेक्ट प्लेसमेंट हुआ है ISIS में !!

सीरिया से राहुल जी और केजरी सर जी को सलाम भेजा है!!

Posted by स्वर्णिम हिंद का स्वर्णिम स्वप्न on Monday, February 26, 2018

On another page Narendra Modi Namo Namo which has over 110,000 followers, journalist Ravish Kumar is targeted in a post that asks why he is silent over JNU’s Najeeb joining the ISIS.

100 बार बताया कि JNU छात्र नजीब गायब हो गया मगर एक बार नहीं बताया कि वो भागकर ” Islamic State” में आतंकी बन गया। क्यों रवीश जी? डर लगता होगा न?

Posted by Narendra Modi Namo Namo on Monday, February 26, 2018

The posts we have presented here are only a sample of what is being circulated on social media. Alt News found a large number of pages and groups across various platforms which have been sharing this information.

On February 26, Alt News had reported how certain sections on social media are spreading the message that Najeeb Ahmad who went missing from JNU in 2016 had joined the ISIS.

The news was totally false, as the Najeeb who had joined ISIS was a 23-year old MTech student from VIT Vellore who went missing from Kerala. Moreover, this Najeeb had gone missing in August 2017, so the news itself is not recent. Yet, this Najeeb was, intentionally or not, confused with JNU’s Najeeb Ahmed and the report was circulated.

Several members of the ruling party lent credence to this rumour by spreading this fake news on social media. Among them were senior BJP National General Secretary Ram Madhav, BJP MP Swapan Dasgupta and BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli who retweeted Jaswant Singh’s tweet, which has still not been deleted and has been shared over 3000 times already.

Though they later un-tweeted the tweet, the damage had already been done as these senior members of the ruling party and Govt with their extensive following gave legitimacy to a blatantly false piece of information without even basic verification. It seemingly mattered little that a missing person was maligned in the process.

Mainstream media also did not act to dispel this rumour which played on identical names to create confusion. Najeeb Ahmad is not around to defend himself, and the media that is supposed to be the voice of the voiceless, with a few notable exceptions like Indian Express has not done enough to dispel this rumour. That this fake message is still doing the rounds despite being debunked also illustrates the challenges of countering misinformation which keeps spawning on social media.

About the Author

Arjun Sidharth is a writer with Alt News. He has previously worked in the television news industry, where he managed news bulletins and breaking news scenarios, apart from scripting numerous prime time television stories. He has also been actively involved with various freelance projects. Sidharth has studied economics, political science, international relations and journalism. He has a keen interest in books, movies, music, sports, politics, foreign policy, history and economics. His hobbies include reading, watching movies and indoor gaming.