A viral post on Facebook claims that Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman has openly come out in support of the BJP and voted for the party in the ongoing Lok Sabha election. The post has a photograph of a person who looks similar to Wing Commander Varthaman, and is seen sporting a saffron scarf with the BJP symbol imprinted on it.
The message along with it says, “Wing Commander Abhinandan ji has openly supported the BJP and even voted to make Modi ji Prime Minister, and he says there is no better Prime Minister than Modi at present, friends make this reach Jihadis and Congressis, you never brought back a jawan alive and today Abhinandan has returned alive and voted for BJP” (translation).
The post is viral on Facebook with many BJP supporting pages and groups sharing it with an identical narrative.
It has been shared on Twitter as well.
No political participation for IAF personnel
Any claim which asserts that a serving officer of the Indian Air Force is actively campaigning for a political party is false. This is for the simple reason that under the Air Force Rules, 1969, it is categorically stated that IAF personnel are not permitted to take part in political activities.
The below excerpt is from the Manual of Air Force Law, which is available on the website of the Ministry of Defence.
Comparison of facial features
Let us look at the two pictures and compare Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman with the picture of the man with the saffron scarf:
If we look closely at the pictures, there is little similarity other than the handlebar moustache. The eyes and hair of the man purported to be Abhinandan are hidden by glasses and cap, but the following differences are clearly discernible.
1) Abhinandan has a mole just under his lips which the man in the saffron scarf doesn’t.
2) The man on the right has a mole below his right eye, which is missing on Abhinandan’s face
3) Abhinandan has a marked horizontal line under the chin which is absent in the man in saffron.
Other than the facial features, if we look carefully at the posture, the man in the BJP scarf has drooping shoulders. This is unlike the posture of Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman.
Another point worth noting is that Tamil Nadu, where Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman is most probably a voter, did not vote in the first phase that concluded on April 11th.
This false claim was earlier debunked by Boomlive .
An attempt was made to pass off a ‘lookalike’ sporting a handlebar moustache as Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman. An analysis of the facial features makes it amply clear that the man sporting the saffron scarf pledging his support to BJP and PM Modi is not Abhinandan. Moreover, IAF service rules clearly bar personnel from political participation. This coordinated attempt by pro-BJP Facebook pages to portray a serving officer of the Indian Air Force as actively campaigning for the party is a clear effort to mislead voters.
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