Bollywood actor and producer Farhan Akhtar is in the eye of the storm after a message attributed to him started circulating on social media. According to the message, the actor is justifying the death of those who were killed in the communal violence that erupted in Kasganj, U.P on Republic day. The quote attributed to him says, “It was Jumma (friday) on 26th January. Had Hindus not taken tiranga march through muslim majority area of Kasganj and raised provocative slogans like Vande Mataram they couldn’t have been killed”.

Thus according to this quote, Akhtar is justifying the death of the Hindu victim in the clash at Kasganj. He also apparently calls ‘Vande Mataram’ a provocative slogan.

Gaurav Pradhan, who tweeted about this, is a repeat offender. He has been caught spreading fake news in the past as well. He is among those who are followed on twitter by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Pradhan tweeted the image with the stamp of Postcard News on it. Postcard News is a leading purveyor of fake news with the objective of inciting communal hatred, and has been exposed on earlier occasions by Alt News.

The said quote is viral on twitter and on facebook, and is being shared in number of pages and groups where Akhtar is described as a ‘jihadi’.

Akhtar came out with a clarification, tweeting that he had never said what is being attributed to him by nefarious elements on social media and urged his fans and followers to be cautious about what and what not to believe on social media.

Gaurav Pradhan deleted his tweet after Akhtar’s clarification. However, instead of an unqualified apology, Pradhan sought to justify his act, indulging in whataboutery.

The far-right ecosystem on social media is known to spread mischievous and misleading information time and again, despite being exposed repeatedly. The incessant nature of their campaign is directed at keeping communal tension high, seeking to divide communities through provocative content. Farhan Akhtar is only the latest victim of this malicious propaganda.

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.