A message criticizing the Congress party attributed to renowned journalist and author Mark Tully is doing the rounds on various social media platforms. Newschecker’s investigation found the message to be falsely attributed to the former New Delhi bureau chief of the BBC and is fabricated.
Comparing the Congress to a big banyan which “Modi is uprooting and demolishing”, it goes on to call Congress, Leftist, Jihadis, Naxalites, Missionaries “snakes” that were destroying the country, and hails PM Modi for “exposing” them. The message further goes on to urge that “Hindus will have to stand firmly with Modi” as he is “waging a war for our countrymen.”
Newschecker found the same message posted multiple times on both Facebook and Twitter in the last week.
Newschecker also received two requests from users on its WhatsApp helpline number (+91 9999499044), to check the veracity of the message.
A closer look at the text reveals many spelling errors and grammatical mistakes, for example, Tully is misspelled as Tulley and the text reads “India land” instead of “Indian land.”
At the end of the message, a link to an article by fact-checking portal Alt news is added presumably as evidence to back up the claims in the viral message. Contrary to the content in the text, the article by Alt News debunks a similar false claim that was widely shared in Tully’s name back in May 2019.
Newschecker also ran a keyword search for several combinations of words in the message and did not find any authentic source that attributes the message to Tully.
Further, we contacted Mark Tully who confirmed that these comments were falsely attributed to him.
“This message has absolutely nothing to do with me. There have been several other ones wrongly circulated in my name. I will be grateful for anything you can do to let the public know that it has nothing to do with me and I thoroughly disagree with it,” said Tully in a voice note to Newschecker.
Tully joined BBC in 1965 and is known for his distinctive voice as a radio correspondent. He has covered many major events in India’s recent history until his retirement as bureau chief in 1994. He is also a recipient of the Padma Shri and the Padma Bhushan awards.
Similar messages attributed to Tully condemning the Congress have been shared several times before. During our research, we found articles by Economic Times, Bangalore Mirror, and other fact-checking organizations including Alt news and Quint have already debunked several of them.
The message praising PM Modi in his efforts to save the country attributed to Mark Tully is false and fabricated.