A one-minute video that shows a long queue of women in burqas is viral with the claim that they had gathered to collect free ration distributed by the government. Sudarshan News editor-in-chief Suresh Chavhanke tweeted, “Pay your taxes on time. Look at the queue for free ration, recognise them and open your eyes.”
समय पर टैक्स भरो,
फ़्री में राशन की क़तार देखो, पहचानों और आँखें खोलो…. pic.twitter.com/BhQK8ZnbdF
— Suresh Chavhanke “Sudarshan News” (@SureshChavhanke) May 27, 2021
[Also read: Sudarshan News and its history of dangerous, communally-divisive misinformation]
BJP supporter Renuka Jain, who is also followed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, tweeted the video along with a viral Hindi text that says, “Take a look at the crowd gathered for collecting free ration provided by the government, understand where your tax is going.” Her post gained over 2,800 views as of this writing.
भारत सरकार से फ्री में राशन मिलने वाली भीड़ तो देखिए ,आपका इनकम टैक्स कहाँ जा रहा समझिए☹️ pic.twitter.com/0VSUIAmYrz
— #RenukaJain (@RenukaJain6) May 25, 2021
Last month, the Modi government decided to distribute 5 kg of grains free of cost to all the 800 million beneficiaries of the National Food Security Act over and above their regular quota in May and June 2021. The decision was taken after the second wave of COVID-19 rendered the poor jobless.
Twitter users @cbpunjabi and @premcand_k also wrote a similar caption and gained over 2,200 and 2,400 views respectively.
The video is quite viral on both Twitter and Facebook. One Facebook user posted the viral video in a group called ‘Sudarshan News channel Fans’ with over 1.5 lakh members.
भारत सरकार से फ्री में राशन मिलने वाली भीड़ तो देखिए आपकी आंखें खुली की खुली रह जाएगी 😳🙄😲
Posted by Ravi Shrivastav on Tuesday, May 25, 2021
Many other Facebook users were among those who claimed that these women are sitting in a queue to collect free ration. One Vinit Tewari’s post gained over 2,300 views at the time of writing.
Alt News received a few fact-check requests to verify the video on its Whatsapp number (7600011160) and mobile application. (iOS, Android)
Old video shared with false claim
The video gives us enough hints upon a closer look that it was shot in Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh. A number plate of a motorcycle, signage of Bank of Baroda and a hoarding that reads ‘Muzaffarnagar’ were some of these clues.
A subsequent search on YouTube led us to a report by News18 published on April 20, 2020. According to the report, “Women in Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh gathered in front of one of the branches of Bank of Baroda to withdraw the amount credited by the centre to their Jan Dhan accounts. These women were misinformed that the government may take the relief amount of Rs 500 back anytime. The officials then reassured the people that none of them would lose their money as the government did not come up with any such decision. They made the people stand in queues following social distancing.”
Readers should note that the central government in March 2020, announced that ex-gratia payment of Rs 500 would be credited to Jan Dhan accounts of women for the next three months, starting from April. The first instalment of the relief was released on April 3, 2020, reported The Print.
Dainik Jagran also reported that many people were falling for the rumours that the government will take back the money if it’s not withdrawn.
Zee Business carried a tweet by the Department of Financial Services wherein the government has clarified that people can withdraw their money anytime.
Govt. ने PMJDY महिला a/c holders के खाते में 500 रु जमा किए हैं। यह अप्रैल माह के है मई, जून में भी 500-500 रु डाले जाएँगे। This amt has reached ur bank a/c & you can withdraw it any time. अफ़वाहों पर ध्यान न दें l अपने सुविधा अनुसार ATM, CSP और बैंकों से यह पैसा लें @FinMinIndia
— DFS (@DFS_India) April 9, 2020
Long queues were also reported outside banks in various parts of Odisha and Jharkhand after women rushed to withdraw money falling for the rumour.
Hence, a video from last year where Jan Dhan account holders gathered in front of a bank to withdraw money was shared as Muslim woman queuing to collect free ration provided by the government.
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