On July 22, the Income Tax Department conducted raids on several offices of Dainik Bhaskar, one of the country’s leading Hindi newspapers. In a report published on its website, the daily wrote, “During the second wave of COVID-19, the government raided the offices of the Dainik Bhaskar Group for laying out its flaws in front of the entire country.”

Following this, a photo of a hoarding purportedly issued by Dainik Bhaskar began circulating on social media. A rough translation of what the hoarding says is as follows – “Neither the monk from math nor the fake saint. Only truth will prevail. The news will neither be pressurised to be killed in UP nor will it be stopped.” The tagline makes a sarcastic reference to UP CM Yogi Adityanath and PM Modi. It suggests that Dainik Bhaskar will continue reporting the news despite the obstacles the outlet might have to face from the government.

The image was shared by Samajwadi Party MLA Ambrish Singh Pushkar on Facebook. The accompanying caption stated, “The ‘oppressive government’ tried to suppress the voice of ‘Dainik Bhaskar’. What Dainik Bhaskar did in response is in front of you.”

We noticed that the image was widespread on Facebook. A page called ‘Rofl Gandhi‘ shared a screenshot of a Twitter handle. The account belongs to a parody account of Dainik Bhaskar, which had uploaded the viral image originally. Twitter user @ErDiwakarDas also posted the image, where it amassed over 1,500 likes before being deleted.

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Fact-check

A closer look at the image reveals it has a watermark, ‘@YogiJhoothaHai’. The page ‘Yogi Jhootha Hai’ had uploaded this image on July 22.

‘Yogi Jhootha Hai’ remarked this is what Dainik Bhaskar ought to have done.

‘दमनकारी सरकार’ ने ‘दैनिक भाष्कर’ की आवाज़ दबाने की कोशिश की, फिर जो दैनिक भाष्कर करना चाहेगा वह आपके सामने है🤣🤣

Posted by Yogi Jhootha Hai on Thursday, July 22, 2021

Alt News cropped the photo in question and performed a reverse image search. This led us to the original image in a News Nation story from January 2020. The original slogan read, ‘The country wants Narendra Modi, Delhi wants Kejriwal’. Deepak Madan, who himself identifies as an RSS supporter and BJP worker, had issued this message in Delhi.

The phrase ‘neither the monk from math nor the fake saint’ was first tweeted by @RoflGandhi_ questioning whether Dainik Bhaskar will come up with such a statement after the raid. This was in response to an old hoarding put up by the outlet in support of the Yogi government.

This line was then picked by the ‘Yogi Jhootha Hai’ handle. Apart from this, the screenshot of the Dainik Bhaskar parody account has since been deleted. However, an archived version can be accessed here. This handle is no longer active either. It had earlier changed its username from Diwakar to Dainik Bhaskar. The old username @ErDiwakarDas can be seen below.

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To sum it up, a photo of a hoarding was edited and posted as a joke. However, users mistakenly assumed it was real and began circulating it. Dainik Bhaskar has not issued any such message. At the same time, the Hindi daily did put up a hoarding in 2017 which read, ‘Neither Maya’s trap nor Akhilesh’s discord.”

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About the Author

Priyanka Jha specialises in monitoring and researching mis/disinformation at Alt News. She also manages the Alt News Hindi portal.