Unrelated image sourced from a random FB profile used to recirculate an old incident

A Twitter handle @Nationallist_Om which is a parody account of journalist Pushpendra Kulshrestha shared an image of a bearded man with the claim that Muslims are making fake IDs with Hindus names from different castes to post casteist remarks on social media to spark a divide in the Hindu community. “साइबर जिहाद से सावधान! मुस्लिम लड़के दलित , ओबीसी और ब्राह्मण नाम की फेक id बनाकर फेसबुक पर कर रहे है जातिगत अभद्र टिप्पणी… ताकि हिंदुओं में आपसी फूट पैदा हो और मुसलमान अपने गज़वा ए हिन्द के लक्ष्य में कामयाब हो जायें। Beware of cyber Jihad! Muslim boys are making fake IDs using Dalit, OBC and Brahmin names to post casteist remarks on Facebook…so that Hindus are divided and Muslims succeed in their goal of conquering India.” At the time of writing this article, Nationallist_Om‘s tweet was liked over 3,000 times and retweeted over 2,000 times (archive).

The tweet carried an image with a message attached to it that said –यादव की ID बनाकर ब्राह्मण को गाली..ब्राह्मण की ID बनाकर दलित को गाली…असल में निकला “मोहम्मद अहमद जिहाद का नया पैंतरा #साईबर जेहाद’ हिंदुओं में फूट डालो। (Abusing Brahmins by using a Yadav’s ID…abusing Dalits by using a Brahmins ID. In reality, he is Mohammed Ahmad. This is a new Jihad #CyberJihad to divide Hindus.)” 

The message further claimed that Himachal police has arrested Mohammed Ahmed who had made a fake ID on Facebook to pass derogatory remarks at the Ramayana and Gita. The text in Hindi reads, “हिमाचल: पुलिस ने किया मोहम्मद अहमद को गिरफ्तार, फेसबुक पर हिन्दू नाम से ID बनाकर देता था रामायण”.” 

[READ: Past instances of misinformation shared by @Nationalist_Om1, 2, 3, and 4}

The claim has also been shared on Facebook.

It has, in fact, been doing rounds on social media since 2017. Last year, it was shared by the Facebook page ‘Yogi Adityanath ki Sena (YogiSenaGkp)’.

Fact-check

Alt News had earlier debunked this claim as part of an exposé on Facebook page ‘Yogi Adityanath ki Sena.’ We had found that the misinformation was created lifting a photograph of a man named Zeeshan-ul-hassan Usmani who describes himself as a data science, blockchain and AI consultant on Facebook and is from Pakistan. The man has an account on Twitter as well and had posted on Facebook the same photograph used by ‘Yogi Adityanath ki Sena.’Pradesh

A similar claim was viral in September 2017, shared by right-wing influencers like Anshul Saxena and Soman Mahajan.

Saxena had uploaded a press note which said that a man named Mohammed Ahmed was arrested in Hamirpur, Uttar Pradesh for creating a fake ID on Facebook by using pictures of former ABVP district in-charge and vice-president of Hindu Yuva Vahini Sundaram Singh. According to the press note, Ahmed used the ID to post objectional and obscene content and also passed derogatory remarks at Ramayana and the Gita to spark a communal riot. This read similar to currently viral social media posts. However, it is noteworthy that while the posts claimed that Ahmed was arrested in Himachal Pradesh, the press note claimed he was arrested in Uttar Pradesh.

A time search on Twitter led us to the press note originally tweeted by Hamirpur police on September 27, 2017.

It can thus be established that a 2017 incident of a Muslim man arrested for posing as a Hindu and posting hateful remarks on social media has since been floating with an exaggerated and misleading narrative. The incident was an isolated case which is being used to target the Muslim community. Moreover, it took place in Uttar Pradesh but several social media users have used an image sourced from a random Facebook profile and claimed that the incident occurred in Himachal Pradesh.

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