A video of a broadcast from a news channel is gathering a lot of traction on social media. It features a string of breaking news graphics that read, “Bengal HC calls for Mamata Banerjee’s resignation!”, “Four-member Home Ministry team reaches West Bengal, action on Mamta imminent”, “Shah angered by the murder of BJP personnel”, “Four-member Ministry of Home Affairs team arrives in West Bengal”, “Shah takes action, President’s rule to take effect in West Bengal”, “Mamata’s viral video incited violence”. These graphics have been shared against the backdrop of 17 deaths across political parties during post-poll violence in the state. Supporters of the BJP have been demanding resignation from Mamata Banerjee and making social media posts favouring the President’s rule in the state. In fact, an NGO named India Collective had filed a petition in the Supreme Court to impose the President’s rule though no such order has yet been passed.
Twitter user @khaitan48 posted the viral clip and wrote, “Breaking news! Kolkata HC said, ‘If the state government is unable to control the state, the CM should resign immediately.’ The land of the great son of Bengal Subhash Chandra Bose has been bloodied by this female jihadi. Now the time has come to put this witch behind bars!” It racked up 1,700 views and 369 retweets at the time of writing. (Archive link)
कोलकाता HC ने कहा!
“अगर राज्य सरकार से नहीं संभल रहा राज्य तो CM तुरंत दें इस्तीफा”
बंगाल के महान सपूत सुभाषचन्द्र बोस की भूमि को “जेहादन” ने बहुत रक्तरंजित कर दिया अब वक्त आ गया हैं “डायन” को जेल में ठूंसने का! pic.twitter.com/PU5nP6XdPT
— N K khaitan (@khaitan48) May 8, 2021
Another Twitter user shared the visuals with the same claim. (Archive link)
ब्रेकिंग न्यूज़….कोलकाता HC ने कहा
“अगर राज्य सरकार से नहीं संभल रहा राज्य तो CM तुरंत दें इस्तीफा” pic.twitter.com/vAoxQnP0Lf
— पिंकी सिंह #3ह🚩🕉️🚩🇮🇳🇮🇳 (@PinkySi67436470) May 8, 2021
Morphed graphic plates
At the beginning of the video, the word ‘“इस्तीफ़ा” (resignation) is misspelt as “स्तीफा”. Several such errors appear in the other graphics as well, which is unusual for a news organisation.
Alt News did not stumble upon any media reports corroborating the viral claim that the Calcutta HC has ordered Mamata Banerjee to step down as the Chief Minister.
We then performed a keyword search, which led us to the original clip uploaded on May 7, 2021, by the YouTube channel CSK News.
This channel was created on June 29, 2019, and has uploaded several videos peddling disinformation. On May 6, the channel had uploaded a clip about President’s rule imposed in West Bengal even as no such order has been passed.
The viral clip also keeps reiterating that BJP workers were murdered in the violence. But among the 17 people killed were workers from across political parties – BJP, TMC, CPI(M) and ISF. While opposition parties have blamed TMC for the attacks, which has also been criticised by journalists and civil society, TMC has claimed that it did not have any role to play and has, in turn, raised allegations on BJP.
On May 7, the Calcutta High Court asked Mamata Banerjee to file an affidavit within three days on the current condition of the state following the clashes. A five-member bench of the court sought a report detailing the areas that had witnessed clashes and the measures taken to curb them. In a second hearing on this matter on May 10, the court appreciated the steps taken by the state government to bring a stop to the violence. At the same time, the high court dismissed the centre’s plea for the formation of an SIT to look into the matter. A four-member team of the union home ministry, tasked with looking into reasons for the post-poll violence had met governor Jagdeep Dhankhar, reported PTI. On May 12, Hindustan Times reported that the Mamata Banerjee administration told the court that there had been no incidents of violence in the state after May 8. However, the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) claimed that it had received word about the looming threat of caste-based violence since May 2. The organization scheduled a two-day state visit on May 13 and 14. The state government called for the suspension of the visit citing COVID-19 guidelines. Despite this, the NCSC is on the visit to probe the violence.
Doctored graphic plates were created to falsely claim that the Calcutta High Court has ordered Mamata Banerjee to resign. But no such order has been passed.