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India Today And The Tribune Published A Fictional Story As A Real Incident

India Today and The Tribune published this heartbreaking story and gathered thousands of shares and retweets.

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A 55 year old teacher bullied

A story shared on social media went viral when two leading media outlets published it as a real incident. The story is about a 55-year-old teacher who gets bullied during an online class. 

a 55 year old teacher bullied
Screenshot of India Today’s Article

India Today and The Tribune published this heartbreaking story and gathered thousands of shares and retweets. Let’s have a look at CrowdTangle’s analysis of these reports on Facebook.

Crowd Tangle Analysis

The story was also shared on Instagram by a profile named TedTheStoner.

a 55 year old teacher bullied
Instagram Screenshot

Fact Check/Verification

This story was so emotional that it went viral in a day. Many people shared this story on their social media handles. This story was so moving that it went viral in a day. But it turns out that the story was a fiction. Syed Mohammad Fahim, a teacher, published it on June 30 on Facebook. 

Principal suddenly called the 55 year old teacher and told him to learn how to take class online. He doesn't have much…

Posted by Syed Mohammad Fahim on Tuesday, June 30, 2020

And this is what Syed Fahim told us when we spoke to him:

Yes, I wrote this fictional story. I am a teacher by profession on 30th I saw a video where an elderly teacher was the victim of Zoom bombing by his students. I became very emotional. So, I wrote a fictional story on my timeline, and it went viral. In the original post, I have mentioned that it was fictional. I didn’t use any picture of anyone. Later on yesterday, I saw a few pages on Instagram reposted my story, but some removed the fictional part. I don’t know why? But people are circulating this man’s picture without his consent.

Syed Mohammad Fahim

This video was originally published by a Facebook user Hafiz R Rahman on 29 June.

অনলাইনে যে স্যার টা ক্লাস নিচ্ছেন উনি স্বনামধন্য মাইলস্টোন কলেজের পদার্থবিজ্ঞানের শিক্ষক "মহিউদ্দিন স্যার"। আমি মাইলস্টোন এর শিক্ষার্থী থাকাকালীন উনার সরাসরি ছাত্র ছিলাম। প্রচন্ড আত্নসংযম এবং অমায়িক লোক উনি। আমি উনার সম্পর্কে যা জানি তার কিছুটা এরকম " উনি একসময় বড় মাপের বিজনেসম্যান ছিলেন কিন্তু কোন এক অজানা কারনে উনার ব্যাবসা লস হয়। উনি যুক্তরাষ্ট্রের একটা ইউনিভার্সিটির ও লেকচারার ছিলেন।পরে উনি অনলাইনে অনেক স্বনামধন্য বিশ্ববিদ্যালয়ে ক্লাস করাতেন। " মহিউদ্দিন স্যারকে অনেক কাছ থেকে দেখার সুযোগ আমার হয়েছে। উনার ক্লাসে কমবেশি সবাই একটু দুস্টুমি করত। স্যার তেমন কিছু রাগ করতেন না আবার খেপে গেলে পিটাতেন। অনেকে এমন ছিল যে স্যারের পিটানি খেয়েও হাসত। স্যার একবার স্ট্রোক ও করেন। এরপরও উনি শিক্ষার্থীদের শেখাবার জন্য কখনো ক্লান্ত হননা। খুব মজাদার এই লোকের ক্লাসে এক অভদ্র ছেলের কান্ড দেখুন। আমি যতটা জানিল মাইলস্টোন কলেজে সামর্থ্যবান ব্যাক্তির ছেলেমেয়ে না হলে পড়তে পারে না। খরচে কুলায় না। সে হিসেবে মোটামুটি শিক্ষিত ফ্যামিলির ছেলেমেয়ে ছাড়া মাইলস্টোনের শিক্ষার্থী নেই। কিন্তু কোন শিক্ষিত ফ্যামিলি এমন কুলাংগার জন্ম দিল কে জানে? আমরা স্যারদের সাথে ফ্রী ছিলাম, স্যারদের সাথে অনেক মজাদার সময় পার করেছি, ডান্স করেছি, গান গাইছি কিন্তু কখনো বেয়াদবি করিনি৷ মাইলস্টোন কলেজের প্রাক্তন শিক্ষার্থী হিসেবে আমার সকল শ্রদ্ধেয় স্যারের প্রতি আবদার এই ছেলেকে খুজে বের করে উপযুক্ত শাস্তির আওতায় আনা হোক যেন এটা দৃষ্টান্ত হয়ে থাকে 🙂নোটঃ- অনেকে আপডেট জানতে চেয়েছিলেন যে কি হলো? প্রশাসন বা কলেজ অথরিটি কি সিদ্ধান্ত নিল তাদের জন্য পরবর্তী আপডেট লিংক ঃ- https://www.facebook.com/100011736819091/posts/1092216301179587/?app=fbl

Posted by Hafiz R Rahman on Monday, June 29, 2020

But how did these two posts get mixed? On performing Google Reverse Image Search, we came to know that this video was first published on 6 July by a Facebook page called DCC Sarcasm. This page used Fahim’s story along with the video.

Abusing a teacher doesn’t make you cool, it makes you sick.

Principal suddenly called the 55 year old teacher and told him to learn how to take class online. He doesn't have much to say as he knows that if he denies he will be laid off, at this age in this situation he can't do any other job, to pay for his family he has no choice.Unwillingly he takes his smart phone to his daughter. She helped him to understand the basic of Zoom, his hands often shakes to go around the tabs, he often freezes trying to understand how this thing works but he has no choice.The next day he goes to new market to buy a new white board. The price of these small board soared up, but without these how can he take the class? He took the board in a rickshaw and came home. Placed the board in a chair and started practicing the lesson. It was harder than he thought, staring at a camera and teaching but he has no choice.The next day he wore a new shirt, will be seeing his students after one and half month, his daughter helped him to setup the smart phone, and the students were added and the class went on. He was shaky, his voice cracked every now and then he was nervous but he has no choice.Suddenly an unknown ID started using slang at him, the F words, the A words, open threats. He couldn't understand how should he react, he shouted out of anger and embarrassment, a teacher is being humulated infront of his students. His life work of earning respect from his students seemed to vanish in seconds. His daughter taught him to mute students but the student could un mute himself, the student kept on using slangs and he did it for entertainment. The only thing the teacher could do was to end the class, as he has no choice.He called for his daughter, she came running and saw her father in tears, she held him tightly tried to calm him down but he kept crying as he never faced such humiliation in his life. That he had troubled sleeping that night, as he knew the next day he has to wake up and face the same ordeal as he has no choice.I write this fictional story in solidarity to all teachers who are victims of Zoom bombing by shameless students. May Allah give you patience and these students hedayah.✍ : Syed Muhammad Fahim[abusing a teacher doesn’t make you cool, it makes you sick. ]

Posted by DCC Sarcasm on Sunday, July 5, 2020

Conclusion

Online classes have become a new challenge for both teachers and students. While students are finding it tough to attend, teachers are struggling with this new technology. Meanwhile, India Today and The tribune published a report on a completely fictional story about a 55-year-old teacher who gets bullied in an online class.

Result: False/Fabricated


Our Sources 

Facebook Profile: https://www.facebook.com/syedmfahim/posts/10158626316914452

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/bongologyy/?__xts__[0]=68.ARD4qYjlpnayiJfrWESk0vDxEYYBvNcmqxQmgFTIDulbmj8G6b41niwTOLauz7GhvBO4I90LpBl86kU0T2kGlXGfK9u4OAVmfnBJvtdHK5D1p_VM9tD0o87Cfh78Qf7ztMqHBRafet2inQPqzrIp6pQyXA6hMzpLopas97t0Be_L7iJmd7GJ8y3eripJslIPdcUcLZ_1V870qQ68e_GUEImjCfVpcI6yCXiivgxE0aY7kwFWbFVwAdWjIClu9Mg1wqPzfh5sG23IM1pwFHMYaQ3q3v_OActN0dwxFlsFPShtKrvPb7nB5PZbEZBxNzt2tlbl1HNtAtBDHVP3OR9fzLc

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/DCCSarcasmofficial/


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Year Old Video Showing A Massive Crowd At Bangalore’s KR Market Goes Viral With Misplaced Context

On 31 July, BBMP Commissioner, N. Manjunatha Prasad, tweeted that Bangalore’s KR Market & Kalisapalya will continue to be closed till August 31, 2020.

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Massive crowd at Bangalore's KR Market

A Facebook post claims there was a massive crowd at Bangalore’s KR Market on the occasion of Varamahalaxmi ignoring social distancing norms amid the ongoing pandemic. 

Bangaloreans are not at all afraid of Corona. 1.Aug.2020KR Market today for Varamahalaxmi shopping.Govt is silent because they want business to flourish at any cost.Now all sensible Bangaloreans have to prepare themselves to brace the demon reaching their doorsteps through these people.🤔

Posted by Muthu Pugal on Saturday, August 1, 2020

Posted on the night of 1st August, 2020, the Facebook post states the following: 

“Bangaloreans are not at all afraid of Corona. 1.Aug.2020

KR Market today for Varamahalaxmi shopping.

Govt is silent because they want business to flourish at any cost.

Now all sensible Bangaloreans have to prepare themselves to brace the demon reaching their doorsteps through these people.”

The video in context has been widely circulated on social media platforms in the past few days after the Varamahalaxmi festival celebrated last week.  

Other social media users have posted this video with similar claims. See you can an examples of this below:

Fact Check/ Verification

Varamahalaxmi also known as Varalakshmi Vratam is celebrated to worship Goddess Varalakshmi in most South Indian states. Krishna Rajendra Market (KR Market) in Bangalore, Karnataka one of the largest wholesale markets in the city and is usually a popular location for shopping during this festival.

Owing to the continuing ban on large public gatherings, we did a Twitter advanced search to find any relevant notice/ announcements from Bangalore’s official government accounts. Through this we came across a 31 July tweet posted by Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagar Palike (BBMP) Commissioner, N. Manjunatha Prasad, which stated an extended closure of KR Market and Kalisapalya till 31 August, 2020. 

The tweet read as follows: 

“KR Market & Kalisapalya will continue to be closed till August 31, 2020.

ಕೊರೋನಾ‌ ಸೋಂಕು ಹರಡುತ್ತಿರುವುದರಿಂದ, KR ಮಾರ್ಕೆಟ್ & ಕಲಾಸಿ ಪಾಳ್ಯ ಮಾರ್ಕೆಟ್ ನಲ್ಲಿ ಇಂದಿಗೆ ಕೊನೆಯಾಗುತ್ತಿರುವ ಸೀಲ್ ಡೌನ್ ಅವಧಿಯನ್ನು ದಿನಾಂಕ: 31-08-2020 ವರೆಗೆ ಮುಂದುವರೆಸಲಾಗಿದೆ. ‌ಸುರಕ್ಷತೆಯ ಆದ್ಯತೆಗೆ ಈ‌ ನಿರ್ಧಾರ ಕೈಗೊಳ್ಳಲಾಗಿದೆ.”

The above translates to: Due to the spread of coronavirus, the current sealed down period at KR Market & Kalasi Palya Market has been extended till 31-08-2020. This decision has been made to prioritize safety.

After reading the BBMP Commissioner’s tweet, we suspected the video to be shared with a misplaced context. So we did a Google search using the keywords: KR Market Varamahalaxmi bangalore. 

Google search results of keywords: KR Market Varamahalaxmi bangalore
Google search results of keywords: KR Market Varamahalaxmi bangalore

This led us to a Youtube video titled, “Varamahalakshmi croud at KR Market Bengaluru.” Posted on 8 August, 2019 we found this to be the same 3.35 minute video posted in the initial claim. Below are screenshots from both the videos which show a man wearing a blue jacket with white stripes looking over the crowd. 

Left: Screenshot from video in the claim  Right: Screenshot from 2019 video of KR Market
Left: Screenshot from video in the claim Right: Screenshot from 2019 video of KR Market

Further, we added the word “crowd” to our keyword search on Google and found more links to the same video posted in 2019. One of them is posted on Oneindia Kannada portal’s Youtube channel on 8 August, 2019.

You can see a shorter version of the same video posted by another user in 2019 here. And another one here

Conclusion 

The same video posted by social media users in August 2019, as well as the announcement of the extended closure of Bangalore’s KR market by BBMP Commissioner, make it clear that the video in context is old and has nothing to do with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 

Result: Misplaced Context

Our Sources

BBMP Commissioner’s tweet

2019 Youtube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M25-wfJ1q7A

Oneindia Kannada: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mPULQDp3oxg

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=418419132359304

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xdZ6sB4fsm0


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Fact check

Viral Claim On Dr Valliyate, Chairman of PETA India Wearing Leather Accessories Is False

“PETA India staff live a vegan lifestyle, one in which no animal derived products are used, and we advocate vegan living every day.”

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Dr Valliyate, Chairman of PETA India allegedly wearing leather accessories

A tweet claims that Dr Manilal Valliyate, Chairman of PETA India wore a leather watch and shoes. The Twitter post by Siddharth Bakaria, member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and digital entrepreneur (according to his Twitter profile description) aims to show Dr Valliyate’s hypocrisy of wearing leather accessories and protecting animals

The above tweet has been widely shared on Twitter as it garnered 8.3K likes and 3.1K retweets at the time of writing this fact check. You can read similar claims made by other users below:

Fact Check/ Verification

We began our research with a Google reverse image search of the photograph in the claim. This led us to a February 2012 article on animalrahat.com. This article detailed an official name change of the Animal Rahat Sanctuary to Simone’s Place in honour of PETA’s most dedicated longtime volunteers, Simone Reyes. 

A February 2012 article on animalrahat.com
A February 2012 article on animalrahat.com

The above article included Dr Manilal Villayate’s photograph as seen in the claim. 

Photograph of Dr Manilal Valliyate, Chairman of PETA India in a 2012 Animal Rahat article.
Photograph of Dr Manilal Valliyate, Chairman of PETA India in a Animal Rahat article

Another article from February 2012 on animalrahat.com included Dr Valliyate’s photo from the claim. 

Without any credible news report to support the claim in context, we directly reached out to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India office via email. We received a response from Dr Valliyate himself who dismissed the contents of the claim which suggest he wore leather accessories. You can read his response to us below:

“This bullying trend of finding personal photos of PETA India staff, and pointing out shoes or other items supposedly made of leather, was started by those who support jallikattu—a bloodsport in which bulls are tortured to injury or death. Now, it has been picked up by other opponents of our work for trolling, and shared on social media. Most people these days know, however, that you can have a look that kills without killing animals! Vegan (non-animal) leather shoes, watch straps, wallets and more are available just about anywhere you shop, and PETA India provides a handy list of brands that use the PETA Approved Vegan logo for easy ethical shopping: www.petaindia.com/living/fashion/introducing-our-peta-approved-vegan-logo-for-easy-shopping/. PETA India staff live a vegan lifestyle, one in which no animal derived products are used, and we advocate vegan living every day. This is a case of trying to discredit PETA India’s messages of kindness by those who want to justify and continue harming animals in some form.”

Conclusion

With Dr Valliyate’s response dismissing the allegation and no other credible evidence to support the claim in context, we can say that Bakaria’s claim is false and misleading. 

Result: False

Our Sources

Primary source: Dr. Manilal Valliyate 

Animal Rahat Sanctuary Was Officially Given a New Name—Simone’s Place

Animal Rahat: https://www.animalrahat.com/latest-news/education-outreach-save-from-abuse/


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Fact check

Old Video Of An Indian Band Playing Dhol In EU’s Folklore Festival Passed Off As Ram Mandir Celebration

Prasad Pimpale started Swargandhar in 2014 and led a 30-member team to the European Union of Folklore Festival (EAFF) in Spain, 2018.

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Indian band, Swargandhar, performs during EU's Folklore Festival in Spain, 2018

A Twitter post attributes a video showing an Indian band playing dhol on the streets of Spain to celebrations of Ram Mandir being built in Ayodhya otherwise known as the land of Ram

The tweet in context garnered over 9K likes and 2.5K retweets at the time of writing this fact check. The accompanying 2.2 minute video in the post shows an Indian band with both women and men dressed in Indian tricolours and playing the dhol on a street.  

This video has been widely circulating on social media platforms with similar claims. While the above claim attributes the video to celebration of Ram Mandir in Spain, others associate it to celebrations in New York. Below are a few examples:

Indians have already started * celebrations * in Spain on this occasion of building Rama's temple in ram land in Ayodhya.

Posted by Hindi News Video on Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Fact Check/ Verification 

A relevant keyword search on Google led us to Youtube videos posted by an account named “swargandhar dhol tasha pathak.”

Google search results using keywords: Indian, women, dhol, spain
Google search results using keywords: Indian, women, dhol, spain

There we found a 2018 video titled “Dhol Tasha on the streets of Spain (2) – Swargandhar Dhol Tasha Pathak” which received over 13 million views at the time of writing this fact check. 

Another video posted on 12 November, 2018 on the same channel is titled “Swargandhar’s International Tour to Spain 2018 | Dhol Tasha Pathak | Documentary | Spain.” The video’s description reads as follows:

“Swargandhar, a Dhol Tasha Pathak from Mumbai made its way to Spain to perform in Folk Music Festival. The team carried our Marathi Culture across the seven seas.”

Here, we observed that members of the band wore the exact same outfits as in the claim. We also noticed a frame in the above video to be identical to one in the claim. See below: 

Left: Screenshot from the claim    Right: Screenshot from Swargandhar's International Tour to Spain, 2018 video
Left: Screenshot from the claim Right: Screenshot from Swargandhar’s International Tour to Spain, 2018 video

A 2019 news article by The Hindu writes about gender stereotypes being broken by women playing the dhol in Maharashtra. It also writes about Prasad Pimpale who started Swargandhar in 2014 and led a 30-member team to the European Union of Folklore Festival (EAFF) in Spain, 2018. 

The Hindu's 2019 article on women breaking gender stereotypes with the dhol.
The Hindu’s 2019 article on women breaking gender stereotypes with the dhol

You can read more about how these Maharashtrian women from all walks of life come together to play the dhol here and here

Note that this video has gone viral at a time when the bhoomi pujan (laying of foundation stone) for the construction of Ram Mandir is fast approaching on 5 August, 2020. 

You can read about this claim in our Hindi fact check here

Conclusion 

Our research makes it clear that the video in the claim showing an Indian band playing dhol is from 2018 shot during a folk music festival in Spain. The claim in context has nothing to do with Ram Mandir. 

Result: Misplaced Context 

Our Sources

Dhol Tasha on the streets of Spain: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bvlWKqQj9RU

Swargandhar’s International Tour to Spain 2018: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbVsh4fkv4k&t=888s

The Hindu: https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/music/women-break-gender-stereotypes-with-the-dhol/article29399259.ece

Deccan Chronicle: https://www.deccanchronicle.com/lifestyle/culture-and-society/020919/rocking-to-a-different-beat.html

The Quint: https://www.thequint.com/videos/women-in-dhol-pathaks-this-ganpati


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