In a recent fact-check, India Today claimed that a tweet attributed to Gajendra Chauhan, actor and former chairman of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), is fake. The channel claimed that the morphed screenshot reads, “I Am With Shringi Yadav. Nation With A Nationalist. #IStandWithShringiYadav,” but Chauhan has so far not tweeted anything on the incident. The tweet is in reference to a minor Muslim boy beaten by Shringi Yadav for entering a temple in Ghaziabad to drink water. Yadav has since been released on bail.
#AFWAFactCheck | Did Gajendra Chauhan tweet in support of Shringi Yadav? Read to know the truth.
— IndiaToday (@IndiaToday) March 18, 2021
India Today’s reasons for declaring the tweet fake are –
1. A Twitter advanced search does not throw up the tweet.
2. The date and time format in some of the screenshots does not match the current format of Twitter.
— IndiaToday (@IndiaToday) March 17, 2021
Below is a tweet where the time does not have an ‘AM or PM’ and the date reads 16/03/21 instead of the common ‘Mar 16, 2021′ on desktop and ’16 Mar 21’ on Andriod phones.
For this bit of human excreta, somebody who beats up a boy for drinking water is a nationalist. pic.twitter.com/mPOl6MDvt1
— Ajay Kamath (@ajay43) March 16, 2021
India Today’s fact-check is wrong
Gajendra Chauhan indeed tweeted in support of the accused who beat up a minor in Ghaziabad. Below is a screenshot of an archived link to his tweet.
The date and time format that led India Today to the conclusion that the tweet is fake can be explained via phone settings. Below is another tweet by Chauhan where the date format is DD/MM/YY and the time does not have ‘AM or PM’. This is because the tweet has been accessed on an iPhone set on the 24-hour clock. Contrastingly, the format is different when the same tweet is accessed on an Android phone with the 12-hour clock setting.
India Today could have easily ascertained that the tweet is genuine because it was quote-tweeted by several people. Below are tweets by journalists Aditya Menon and Uzair Hasan Rizvi.
Ashwatthama ka role behtar hota iske liye https://t.co/MyYEmitgkg
— Aditya Menon (@AdityaMenon22) March 16, 2021
Certification of nationalism can easily be obtained by harassing and beating a Muslim in India. https://t.co/9DXmeLwjpg
— Uzair Hasan Rizvi (@RizviUzair) March 16, 2021
Chauhan’s tweet in fact caused substantial outrage on Twitter. ‘
A man best remembered for playing ‘Dharmaraj’ Yudhisthir in the 1980s TV show Mahabharat stands for adharm in real life. Mr. Chauhan, thrashing a child is nothing but wanton cowardice. But if your idea of nationalism is incomplete without thrashing kids, it has to be resisted. https://t.co/zhSASNaWTS
— Manimugdha Sharma (@quizzicalguy) March 16, 2021
It is also noteworthy that based on India Today’s erroneous fact-check, the tweet has been marked as ‘altered photo’ on Facebook.
India Today therefore falsely declared that Gajendra Chauhan did not tweet in support of Shringi Yadav when in fact he did and later took it down.