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HomeFact checkBJP Passed Of India Today Reporter’s Photograph As Party Worker ‘Manik Moitra’...

BJP Passed Of India Today Reporter’s Photograph As Party Worker ‘Manik Moitra’ Killed In Post-Poll Violence

Days after TMC’s win in West Bengal’s Legislative elections, Bharatiya Janata Party’s West Bengal unit posted a video from its official Twitter account, where it passed of India Today journalist, Abhro Banerjee’s photograph as Manik Moitra, a BJP worker from Sitalkuchi in Cooch Behar district. 

On 5 May, BJP Bengal posted a video on it’s verified social media handles, where it claimed to show multiple incidents of violence by Trinamool Congress workers on BJP workers across the state. 

BJP West Bengal's unit passing off India Today journalist, Abhro Banerjee’s photograph as Manik Moitra, a BJP worker from Sitalkuchi
BJP West Bengal’s unit passing off India Today journalist, Abhro Banerjee’s photograph as Manik Moitra, a BJP worker from Sitalkuchi

An archived version of their Twitter post can be viewed here

The video was also shared by BJP’s verified Instagram account. 

BJP's verified Instagram account passing off India Today journalist, Abhro Banerjee’s photograph as Manik Moitra, a BJP worker from Sitalkuchi
BJP’s verified Instagram account passing off India Today journalist, Abhro Banerjee’s photograph as Manik Moitra, a BJP worker from Sitalkuchi

The video in the above Instagram post uses Banerjee’s photograph attributing it to ‘Manik Moitra’ at the 2 minute 34 second timestamp. A screenshot of it can be viewed below. 

BJP's verified Instagram account passing off India Today journalist, Abhro Banerjee’s photograph as Manik Moitra, a BJP worker from Sitalkuchi
BJP’s verified Instagram account passing off India Today journalist, Abhro Banerjee’s photograph as Manik Moitra, a BJP worker from Sitalkuchi

Also Read: Journalist Naveen Kumar’s Video On COVID-19 Falsely Attributed To Aaj Tak’s Anchor Rohit Sardana

Fact Check / Verification

A day after BJP’s social media accounts shared the said video, Abhro Banerjee himself took to Twitter and Facebook to clarify that his image was being falsely shared as Manik Moitra, and that he is safe and alive. 

“I am Abhro Banerjee, living and hale and hearty and around 1,300 km away from Sitalkuchi. BJP IT Cell is now claiming I am Manik Moitra and died in Sitalkuchi. Please don’t believe these fake posts and please don’t worry. I repeat: I am (still) alive,” reads his Twitter post. 

Abhro Banerjee clarifying the claim on his photograph being attributed to 'Manik Moitra'
Abhro Banerjee clarifying the claim on his photograph being attributed to ‘Manik Moitra’

An India Today news report also clarified the claim on Banerjee’s photograph passed off as Manik Moitra by the BJP. The article further stated that “the BJP had earlier shared the names of 9 victims of post-poll violence in Bengal and among them were Momik Moitra and Mintu Barman, who were killed in Sitalkuchi. However, no one was identified as ‘Manik Moitra’.”

BJP alleges that nine of its members have been killed, while the Indian Secular Front has said that one of its workers was killed in North 24 Parganas due to the violence. The ruling Trinamool Congress also said that four of their party members were killed in the political clashes. As per news reports, the current toll stands between 11 and 14, the police have not yet confirmed the numbers. 

In the wake of post-poll violence and until TMC chief Mamata Banerjee took office, West Bengal’s Governor, Jagdeep Dhankhar, had been holding official meetings with the state’s law enforcement bodies. In his recent tweet, Dhankar wrote, “Sad also to gather that nine persons have lost their lives and many injured in post poll political violence.”

The Union Home ministry has formed a four-member team to look into the post-poll violence in West Bengal and assess the ground situation in the state. Led by an additional secretary, the team has left for the state, reported Mint. 

Also Read: Claims on 5G Testing Radiation Being The Cause Of India’s Second COVID-19 Wave Are False

Conclusion

Bharatiya Janata Party’s verified social media accounts passed off India Today journalist, Abhro Banerjee’s photograph as Manik Moitra, a BJP worker from Sitalkuchi in Cooch Behar district, who reportedly died during the post-poll violence. 

Result: Misleading

Our Sources

Abhro Banerjee: https://twitter.com/AbhroBanerjee1/status/1390188136890728448/photo/1

India Today: https://www.indiatoday.in/amp/india/story/bengal-bjp-posts-photo-of-india-today-journalist-in-violence-video-1799487-2021-05-06?__twitter_impression=true

Kailash Vijayvargiya: https://twitter.com/KailashOnline/status/1389217102163189763?s=20

Indian Express: https://indianexpress.com/elections/centre-seeks-report-from-bengal-govt-on-post-poll-violence-7300636/

Times of India: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/11-killed-in-bengal-post-poll-violence-centre-seeks-report/articleshow/82378005.cms

Indian Express: https://indianexpress.com/elections/pm-modi-anguish-bengal-violence-says-governor-jagdeep-dhankar-7301631/

Jagdeep Dhankhar, West Bengal Governor: https://twitter.com/jdhankhar1/status/1389166526477914114?s=20

Mint: https://www.livemint.com/elections/assembly-elections/west-bengal-post-poll-violence-mha-forms-four-member-team-to-probe-11620278200050.html


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Nikita Vashisth
Nikita is a writer and editor for English fact-checking. She also leads projects to understand the misinformation and fake-news ecosystem—with an emphasis on data and psychology. Previously, she has worked with IndiaSpend, CNN-News18 and written for Citizen Matters and Mongabay-India on the environment, health, and politics. She’s a postgraduate of the Computational Journalism program at Cardiff University, Wales.

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