A collage of screenshots taken from a news bulletin on Aaj Tak is gathering a lot of traction on social media. The same man can be seen in all the screengrabs, wearing a skullcap in some of them. It has been claimed that the real name of the man wearing the cap is Aniket Mishra. However, in different televised debates on Aaj Tak, he is sometimes identified as Nadeem (a Muslim) and sometimes as Pandey (a Hindu).
A user named Manish tweeted the picture and wrote that although the man was named Aniket Mishra, he sometimes became Pandey and sometimes Nadeem after wearing a cap in televised debates. (Archived link)
A parody Twitter handle named Kaka Aaramdev also made a similar claim while sharing these pictures. (Archived link)
Similarly, a handle named Spirit of Congress shared the images and wrote, “One day he is Aditya and the other day he is Nadeem. See how Aaj Tak news channel is fooling the public by paying the same guy to act as Hindu and Muslim.” A number of social media users, including Dr. Sangram Patil and MM Dhera, also shared the image with a similar claim.
We noticed that a number of users replied to these posts claiming that the man in the photo was Haji Mehardeen Rangrez. When we searched for this name on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, we came across accounts with this name.
We also performed a search on YouTube, which led us to a video of Haji Mehardeen Rangrez participating in debates on several TV channels. Among them were News18 India, Times Now Navbharat, Republic Bharat, ABP News, and CNBC Awaaz. His real name was used in all these debates. The names Aniket Mishra, Aditya or Nadeem were not used in any of these debates.
We reached out to Haji Mehardeen Rangrez for more information. He refuted the claims about the three names Aniket Mishra, Aditya, and Nadeem being associated with him. Speaking about the TV channel debates, he informed Alt News that since 2015, he would sit in the TV studio as an audience member and ask questions to the panelists. 2018 onward, he began appearing as a panelist himself.
He also revealed that he was currently serving as the Delhi secretary of the All India Tanzeem-e-Insaf, a Muslim rights organisation. Regarding his political career, he said that he used to be affiliated with the Aam Aadmi Party from 2014 to 2018. Before that, he was with the Bahujan Samajwadi Party from 2010 to 2014, during which he also served as the in-charge of the Gonda assembly constituency.
To sum it up, many social media users shared pictures of All India Tanzeem-e-Insaf Delhi secretary Haji Mehardin Rangrez falsely claiming that his name was Aniket Mishra, and that he had once pretended to be a Hindu in TV debates going by the names ‘Aniket’ or ‘Aditya’. It was falsely also claimed that he would sometimes pretend to be a Muslim in these debates named Nadeem.
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