Remember the “old trunk” which had Nostradamus predictions like “Indus supremus gudjaratus Narendus”? It was a fake passage invented by Francois Gautier. Though a fabrication, it was harmless and a good example of how people fall for even the most ridiculous fake news. Now here is something more delusional and sinister from the same stable.
On May 28th, a e-rickshaw driver in Delhi was brutally beaten up by a group of students for opposing public urination. The driver, Ravinder, died on his way to the hospital. It was a shocking incident that was widely condemned. Union Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu assured his personal intervention in the matter and took to Twitter to express himself, “Sad that an e rickshaw driver was beaten to death for stopping 2 people from urinating in public in Delhi. He was promoting #SwachhBharat”. He also tweeted that he “Spoke to police commissioner & asked him to take strongest action possible against the culprits.” and that he “Asked Municipal Commissioner, North West Delhi to provide job to Ravindra’s wife as per the rules. He promised to give a temporary job.” A compensation was announced for the victim and in a rare gesture, Prime Minister Modi also condemned the incident. A day later two arrests were made. Investigations continue.
It was indeed a tragedy. For some, it presented an opportunity to be milked. Remember, the name of the driver was Ravinder and the name of the culprits were not known at that time. A rumour soon started floating on social media that the students who beat Ravinder were Muslims.
Francois Gautier, of the Nostradamus fame took this as an opportunity to peddle the news on his Facebook page with the hashtags #nocountryforpoorhindus #antihindumedia. Here is an extract from his original Facebook post:
“This is late Ravindra Kumar. He was a poor Hindu rickshaw driver in Delhi with a Wife who is 7 months pregnant. He was a swach Bharat enthusiast and happened to stop two “peaceful” students from urinating in public.
They went away then. Later in the day they came back with a mob hunting for this kaffir. After all kaffirs need to be shown their place and are hardly human. In full public view they rained blows on him, beat him with knuckle wrenches and towels filled with stones. Not one person called the police or came to help this poor Hindu in a Hindu country when a mob of crazed “peacefuls” was beating him to death in a busy place in the national capital.“
Gautier went on to say the Ravinder was “not a calf stealing criminal like Akhlaq but a poor Hindu man trying to be a good citizen” and how his death won’t get any attention because he was a Hindu.
The twist in the tale came when the name of the arrested culprit was announced by the police as “Shekhar Kapasia” from Muzzafarnagar. The images that Gautier had conjured up of crazed mob of Muslims hunting for kaffirs came crashing down. He quietly edited his FB post removing the words, “peacefuls”, “kaffirs”, etc. Forget an apology or word of regret, there was not even a mention of his previous post.
Here is a screenshot highlighting the words removed from his edited post..
To understand the issue better, please watch the following video as to how Francois Gautier revised his post after it became apparent that the accused was not Muslim.
Gautier was not alone in his attempt of communalising and rumour mongering over this unfortunate incident. On similar lines on Twitter, a user, @goyalsanjeev used the incident to attack Arvind Kejriwal and at the same time also suggest that the perpetrators behind the attack are Muslims.
An anonymous handle with 30K+ followers, that goes by the name of @SickularLibtard was also one of the early ones on Twitter to speak of “2 Muslims, kill 1 Hindu, Delhi.”
This was followed by Praveen Bajpai, a BJP Karyakarta, “blessed” to be followed by PM Modi on Twitter, who even managed to find two Muslim names for the culprits.
After the name of the culprit emerged, those on Twitter who spread the fake story have also gone quiet. There is no retraction, no regret, whatsoever. They will move on to the opportunity to polarise, knowing very well that this too will be forgotten.
Watch out for such malicious fake news that is now routinely being spread to polarise and spread feelings of hatred between communities. Each instance of such fake news needs to be countered to ensure that divisive forces don’t succeed with their sinister agenda.