On May 11, editor-in-chief of Sudarshan News Suresh Chavhanke tweeted a photo of a pink-coloured sack that has ‘Eid Mubarak Ramzan Gift Government of Telangana’ imprinted on it. In the tweet, Chavhanke wrote in Hindi, “The Telangana government is offering free, special kits to Muslims for Ramzan On Hindu festivals Ramnavami, Hanuman Jayanti, Ugadi, it was forbidden to even step out of homes.” This tweet has been retweeted over 8000 times. (archive link)
(Translated from: तेलंगाना सरकार मुसलमानों को रमज़ान कि स्पेशल किट फ्रि में दे रही है। हिन्दू के त्यौहार रामनवमी,हनुमान जयंती,उगादि पर घर से भी बाहर निकलना मना था.)
Several Facebook and Twitter users have also posted the viral image.
Alt News performed a keyword search on Google and found that there are no reports which state that the Telangana government offered Ramzan gifts in 2020.
On May 12, an official from the Telangana government told News Meter, “This year Telangana government is not giving Ramzan gift due to Corona situation. This tweet is mischievous because it implies that the state government gives such festival gifts only to Muslims.” The fact-check report by News Meter also includes a government notice which confirms the official’s statement.
Next, we performed a reverse image search and found that the image shared by Chavhanke dates back to at least 2015. It was posted on a Tamil blog.
The viral image was also tweeted by BJP-member Raja Singh in 2015. “I am waiting for Telangana Govt to distributing gift pack for Hindu Festivals also WILL HE?” he questioned (archived tweet).
I am waiting for Telangana Govt to distributing gift pack for Hindu Festivals also
WILL HE ? pic.twitter.com/kH9BziVHiX
— Raja Singh (@TigerRajaSingh) July 9, 2015
Just like Chavhanke, Singh had also suggested that Hindu festivals are overlooked by Telangana government. Readers should note that in the past the state government has not only offered gifts during Ramzan but also on Bathukamma, which is a Hindu festival, and Christmas. The screenshot below shows 2019 reports on gifts given by Telangana government on Bathukamma, Christmas and Ramzan.
Additionally, Chavhanke’s second claim that no Hindu festivals were celebrated during the lockdown is also misleading. In April, several media outlets – Economic Times, The Print, The New Indian Express and Scroll – reported that social distancing was breached during Ram Navami.
In short, Sudarshan News editor-in-chief Suresh Chavhanke tweeted at least a five-year-old image of Ramzan gift pack and claimed that Telangana government is offering free kits to Muslims during Ramzan but Hindu festivals were not given the same treatment. A simple Google search shows this is a blatant lie.
[Also read: Sudarshan News and its history of dangerous, communally-divisive misinformation]
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