The trailer of Bollywood film ‘Shikara – The Untold Story of Kashmiri Pandits’ released on January 7, 2020. Journalist Aditya Raj Kaul shared the trailer and tweeted, “In tears. I am unable to move. For the first time someone has had the courage to narrate my story of forced exodus by Islamist terrorists in Kashmir without monkey balancing. Thank you @rahulpandita for writing this for us all. Thank you @VVCFilms for sharing this brutal truth.”

Since January 8, several social media users shared a screenshot of Shehla Rashid allegedly quote-tweeting Kaul’s tweet and asking people to boycott the movie. “Plese boycott this anti Kashmiri Muslim movie Shikara. There is no need to bring up the past…What is bygone is bygone…” reads the purported tweet.

Facebook page Puffington Post shared the viral screenshot and wrote, “Ohh yes. Same reason we shouldn’t talk about 2002 again.” This post has been shared over 180 times.

On January 10, Twitter user @rohinikaul posted two screenshots and said, “@Shehla_Rashid is this tweet shared by you? I couldn’t find it. If it is then it pains me to see this.I have been pretty vocal about how two wrongs can’t make one right being a Kashmiri pandit.(screenshot) But why boycott a movie which is on our history? Aren’t we all against d terrorists? #Shikara”

Here, instead of Kaul, Rashid is allegedly quote-tweeting one Rohit Arya.

Several social media users have shared viral screenshots on Twitter and Facebook.

Doctored screenshot goes viral

The alleged tweet could not be located on Shehla Rashid’s Twitter timeline, hinting that it was either deleted or was never made in the first place.

Alt News picked up a random quote-tweet by Rashid (right) and compared it with the screenshot shared by Puffington Post (left). It is noticeable that both the viral images show different text alignments.

  1. The quote-tweet is perfectly aligned – Rashid’s profile picture, the text and Kaul’s tweet do not cross the red line.
  2. In the screenshot, the red line also crosses over Rashid’s profile picture
  3. A part of Kaul’s tweet also crosses over the red line in the screenshot.
  4. The quote-tweet carries a time-stamp which is missing from the screenshot.

The screenshot shared by @rashmi21044 has similar alignment issues. Moreover, Arya’s tweet looks like a Facebook post as the ‘public’ and the ‘send friend request’ icons are visible.

Speaking with Alt News Rashid said, “This seems like a very mischievous attempt to incite communal tensions. I’m shocked by the deliberateness with which this screenshot has been doctored. I didn’t know about the movie till last night when this fake screenshot came to my notice. Kashmiri Pandits are part of Kashmir, and it is ridiculous to suggest that I would call for a boycott of a movie or a book by a Kashmiri Pandit.”

The claim on social media that Shehla Rashid asked people to boycott ‘Shikara – The Untold Story of Kashmiri Pandits’ is false and was made using a doctored screenshot of a tweet that the activist never made. Earlier, former BJP MLA Paresh Rawal had targetted Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in a similar fashion.

About the Author

🙏 Blessed to have worked as a fact-checking journalist from November 2019 to February 2023.