Old photograph of Mamata Banerjee shared with a false claim that she is a Muslim

“Picture speaks more than a thousand words. Mamta adopted her mother’s religion Islam which is evident from this picture where she greets Basu with an adab. Her masters degree too was in Islamic History. She is anti Hindu and her vitriolic diatribe against the Hindus proves her allegiance to Islam!”, reads a caption attached to an image, featuring West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee and former West Bengal CM Jyoti Basu. The caption along with the image, circulating on social media, suggests that Banerjee’s mother was Muslim, and Banerjee had adopted her mother’s religion and was therefore greeting Basu with an adab. The post furthers claims that Banerjee had completed her Masters in Islamic History.

Many other social media users have shared the photograph on Twitter and Facebook with the same claim.

Fact-check

We were able to trace back the photo using Google reverse image. The photo was uploaded on Times Content’s website. The caption along with the image on the website states, “Ms. Mamata Banerjee, Union Minister for State of Youth, Sports and Child Welfare greets West Bengal Chief Minister Mr. Jyoti Basu, who also recognise her with “Namaskar’ at Writers Building in Calcutta on July 1, 1991.”

Social media claims

In the picture shared on social media, Banerjee while greeting Basu makes a gesture which resembled ‘adab’, a gesture very often associated with the Muslim community. Based on this picture, the social media post makes two claims.

1. Mamata Banerjee’s mother is Muslim, and Banerjee has adopted her mother’s religion
2. She has secured a Master’s degree in Islamic history.

The claim that Mamata Banerjee had secured a Master’s degree in Islamic History from the University of Calcutta is true and is a well-documented fact.

Alt News found that second claim about Banjerjee’s mother being a Muslim is untrue. Gayatri Devi, the mother of Mamata Banerjee died at the age of 81 on December 17, 2011. Alt News spoke with a senior TMC leader who rubbished the claim while stating, “We do not wish to give credence to such muck by responding to claims such as these.

In a conversation with Alt News, author and Mamata Banerjee’s unauthorized biographer Shutapa Paul said, “My research did not throw up any information to suggest that Mamata Banerjee is Muslim. However, a lot is known about Mamata’s annually held Kali Puja that she officiates herself. This Puja has been held for many years in the Banerjee household. Currently, it’s one of the main events that Mamata holds everywhere in her personal capacity and is attended by the who’s who from the world of politics, business, sports and cinema. Mamata is also well versed in reciting shlokas verbatim and has often chanted the Chandipath at her rallies. I have also visited her school, various colleges and spoken to some of her teachers. None of them mentioned about her being Muslim”. 

Further, Alt News also found that Gayatri Devi, the wife of Promileswar Banerjee and mother of Mamata Banerjee, was cremated, a ritual followed by those who practice Hinduism. According to a report published by The Hindu on December 17, 2011, Gayatri was taken to the cremation ground from Banerjee’s residence to conduct the last rites.

Following is a video of Banerjee’s mothers being taken to the cremation ground. The manner in which the last rites are carried out as seen in the video are akin to Hindu rituals.

An old picture was circulated in a misleading manner to claim that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee follows Islam.

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