“Poor general knowledge alert! Poor research alert! Careless tweeting alert! Let us know after U finish researching, if U could manage finding which city’s Police this is! Clue- NOT one of us! Disclaimer : Mumbai Police neither organised such event nor was part it” Mumbai Police reacted sharply to an article by OpIndia with the headline “Bollywood actor and serial abuser was invited as chief guest for an event by Mumbai Police”. The article spoke about how Mumbai police had not taken action against the Bollywood actor Ajaz Khan involved in an ugly twitter spat with twitter user, Sonam Mahajan and had invited him to their event as a chief guest.

The OpIndia article was based on a tweet by the actor on Feb 11th where he claimed he was invited as a chief guest. The article accusing Mumbai police was published on the basis of this old tweet without any research or fact check to ascertain if the claim was indeed true. As Mumbai police tweet seems to indicate, the officers in the picture are not even from its police force.

After its tweet tagging OpIndia, Mumbai police also responded to Ajaz Khan saying, “We appreciate your gratitude for the efforts of @MumbaiPolice for the wellbeing of the city, but misplaced gratitude barely serves any purpose. Kindly recollect correctly who were you invited by and where, because we were not there.”

The OpIndia article was set against the backdrop of an ugly twitter spat between Bollywood actor, Ajaz Khan and a twitter user, Sonam Mahajan that has been unfolding over the last few days. The row started over Mahajan accusing Khan of plagiarizing her tweet. Khan reacted violently using abusive language claiming he received it as a WhatsApp forward. Khan posted several abusive and sexually suggestive tweets against Mahajan who he in turn accused of him of being a potential rapist.and Jihadi.

In response to Mumbai Police tweet calling out the portal for its “poor general knowledge and research skill”, OpIndia came out with another article titled “Dear Mumbai Police, I am surprised by your response”. In the opinion piece penned by its editor Nupur Sharma, OpIndia absolves itself of not conducting a fact check by pointing out that “The fact remains, that OpIndia had simply reported a tweet that was posted by the actor Ajaz Khan himself.”. It questions Mumbai police for not correcting Ajaz immediately and questions ther terse language it used in its tweet for OpIndia as opposed to the polite language in the tweet to Ajaz Khan.

While OpIndia claims it was simply reporting an assertion made by the actor, the headline makes an assertion by saying “Bollywood actor and serial abuser was invited as chief guest for an event by Mumbai Police”. It appears as a statement of fact accusing Mumbai Police of something they didn’t do and should not have been put out without a fact check by a portal that claims to be “free from journalists’ bias and incompetence”.

OpIndia screenshot

How does one fact-check such a picture before putting out an article? The black cap and the identity of the force on the left shoulder indicates that the uniformed personnel do not belong to Mumbai Police. The name of the security force is not entirely legible but at least three letters are legible, the first letter being ‘B’ and the last two letters being ‘SF’ – B-SF.

We searched for the phrases ‘BASF security force’, ‘BBSF security force’, ‘BCSF security force’ .. until ‘BMSF security force’ on images.google.com. For the phrase ‘BMSF security force’, we came across a picture in a Hindustan Times report in which the caps off the officers resembled the caps of the officers in Ajaz Khan’s photo. The caption of the article suggested that BMSF stands for Brihanmumbai Municipal Security Force.

Further, comparing the insignia on the caps of the officers in Ajaz Khan’s photo with the logo on BMC’s Twitter account further confirms that security personnel in the picture tweeted by Khan appear to be from BMSF and not Mumbai Police.

Meanwhile Khan has tweeted a video about the event he attended and still seems confused between Mumbai Police and BMSF.

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