A quote attributed to writer and activist Arundhati Roy is currently circulating on social media. According to this quote allegedly given by Roy, she is drawing parallels between Islamic terrorism, and mothers and teachers who ‘terrorise’ millions of children every day; to apparently suggest that she is sympathetic to Islamic terrorism because she draws an absurd comparison.
Islamic terrorists are not a problem
Real terrorists are teachers and Mothers says Arundhati Roy
God save our country from so called intellectual terrorists like Her pic.twitter.com/WblKyHERZb
— Rishi Bagree 🇮🇳 (@rishibagree) January 21, 2018
Rishi Bagree’s tweet was retweeted more than 1,400 times. Bagree is a serial offender who has been caught multiple times spreading fake news on social media. He is followed on twitter by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah. Another twitter user who too is followed by PM Modi tweeted about Roy and her alleged quote.
Mothers and teachers make the kids sex slaves, throw their LGBT kids from terraces, behead non believers, kill, maim, bombard. I think her teacher/mum must’ve hung her by her thumbs for being a witch. pic.twitter.com/LuUAW5mvE4
— Gita S. Kapoor (@GitaSKapoor) January 21, 2018
The IT cell of the BJP too swung into action. Aakash Verma who describes himself as a member of the BJP IT cell and a social media coordinator, and whose profile picture on twitter shows him with Subramanian Swamy also posted this quote on his timeline.
— Aakash Verma (@vermaaakash10) January 20, 2018
Another user, when confronted by SMHoaxSlayer responded defensively, stating she had not created it but merely forwarded it as it was already circulating on social media and that she could not vouch for its authenticity.
I haven’t created this. It’s being circulated all over SM. Can’t vouch for its authenticity.
— Shuchi Singh Kalra (@shuchikalra) January 22, 2018
A closer look at the photograph reveals the BBC logo on the top left corner, implying Roy had made this statement in an interview to the British news broadcaster. Alt News discovered that the interview given by Roy to BBC and the photo of which has been used for the quote is of 2014. As can be seen in the video of the interview posted below, the attire worn by Roy is the same that is shown in the photograph with the quote. A still frame from the video was probably taken and the quote superimposed on it. Nowhere in the interview had Roy made this comment, nor in any other forum.
Alt News spoke to Arundhati Roy, who clarified she had never said any such thing. “It is rubbish”, said Roy, dismissing the allegation.
This is not the first time that Arundhati Roy has been in the eye of the storm. Earlier in May 2017, actor and BJP MP Paresh Rawal courted controversy by suggesting the Indian Army should tie Arundhati Roy to a jeep, in a reference to the incident wherein a Kashmiri protester had been tied to the front of an army jeep as a ‘human shield’ to avoid stone-pelting by Kashmiri citizens.
Rawal had claimed that his tweet was in response to reports carried in the Pakistani media that Roy had criticised the Indian Arm. Later, it turned out that these reports were untrue. Rawal had later deleted the tweet but remained unapologetic.
Only a few days prior to this incident, Rawal had tweeted a quote of Arundhati Roy, on the basis of which Republic TV conducted a prime time debate full of sound and fury. However, it turned out that Roy had never made the statement that was being debated by Arnab Goswami. Expectedly, there was neither retraction nor apology in this case either.
— Republic (@republic) May 22, 2017
Arundhati Roy’s strong views on the State and human rights in India have often attracted the ire of mostly right wingers on social media platforms who accuse her of being anti-national and hand-in-glove with Maoists and radical Islamists. While her views may be unpopular, she has often been subjected to vilification and slander. This tweet was another poor attempt to cast aspersions at Roy.
Independent journalism that speaks truth to power and is free of corporate and political control is possible only when people start contributing towards the same. Please consider donating towards this endeavour to fight fake news and misinformation.