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HomeFact CheckNewspaper Ad Of Kerala Coaching Centre Toppers Viral With False Communal ‘NEET...

Newspaper Ad Of Kerala Coaching Centre Toppers Viral With False Communal ‘NEET Jihad’ Spin

Authors

Kushel HM is a mechanical engineer-turned-journalist, who loves all things football, tennis and films. He was with the news desk at the Hindustan Times, Mumbai, before joining Newschecker.

Pankaj Menon is a fact-checker based out of Delhi who enjoys ‘digital sleuthing’ and calling out misinformation. He has completed his MA in International Relations from Madras University and has worked with organisations like NDTV, Times Now and Deccan Chronicle online in the past.

Claim
Viral image shows the beneficiaries of the NEET-UG paper-leak case, who are all Muslim students, thus proving the “NEET jihad” conspiracy.

Fact
Viral newspaper clipping is of an advertisement for a Kerala-based coaching centre, hailing its students who achieved high scores in NEET, which has no connection to the ongoing paper-leak case.

Close on the heels of multiple arrests in the NEET-UG paper-leak case, a narrative alleging a ‘Muslim nexus’ and ‘Pariksha Jihad’ in the annual examination is gaining traction among certain sections of social media. 

Feeding into the narrative, a purported newspaper clipping showing photos of several students, purportedly belonging only to the Muslim community, has gone viral on social media with users insinuating that the “beneficiaries” of the paper leak were all Muslim students. Many other users also alleged that all those arrested in the case belonged to the Muslim community, indicating an organised “Muslim” nexus behind the paper leak, pointing to the arrests of the principal and vice-principal of a Jharkhand school by the CBI.

The archived version of the tweet can be seen here.

NEET-UG Paper Leak Case

The 2024 NEET-UG, conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA) for admissions to MBBS, BDS and other related undergraduate medical courses across India, has been beset with a series of allegations ranging from question paper leaks, inflated marking and arbitrary allowance of grace marks – issues that have become a nationwide flashpoint for political parties, leading to thousands of students and political parties protesting for weeks.

Fact Check

Were only Muslims arrested in NEET scam probe?

Newschecker found that the accused in the NEET paper leak case involved people from the Hindu community, too, contradicting the viral claim of a Muslim nexus. The CBI, which is investigating the case, has arrested seven people so far, with most of the accused reportedly taking the name of Sanjeev Mukhiya, believed to be the mastermind in the case, during interrogation. 

What’s the fact behind the viral image showing only Muslim students securing high marks?

Newschecker went through the comments of the viral posts, where users pointed out that the ad had appeared in Mathrubhumi, a Malayalam daily. We saw that it was an ad, dated June 6, 2024, for Universal Institute, Kottakkal, Kerala, congratulating its students who secured high ranks in NEET 2024.

We could clearly see that the group, though majorly comprising Muslims, also had students from other communities. The institute’s website, too, shared the same advertisement.

We then reached out to Captain Dr Abdul Hameed, principal of the institute, who said, “The newspaper clipping is of an advertisement for Universal Institute, Kottakkal, which was published in multiple newspapers. The ad features students from our institution, which also includes students from different communities. Kottakkal, in Malappuram district, is a Muslim-majority area, so naturally most of the students are from that community. Also, some of these students have been attempting these NEET exams for years, working hard for it, so linking them to the paper-leak scam is unfortunate”.  

We learnt that Muslims (68.53%) constitute the majority of the population in Malappuram district, followed by the Hindu (29.17%) and Christian (2.22%) communities, as per the 2011 census.

No public information available on NEET scam beneficiaries, viral claim baseless 

We have not found any news reports nor official statements revealing the “beneficiaries” of the NEET paper-leak scandal. The name of the institute has not cropped up in the investigation, while Kerala has not yet reported any cases of NEET irregularities, thereby confirming the viral communally charged claim to be false.

Also Read: Neither Ayodhya, Nor Gujarat! Viral Video Of Road Caving In Is From Brazil

Conclusion

Viral newspaper clipping claiming to show Muslim beneficiaries of the NEET paper leak scam was actually of Kerala coaching centre’s ad congratulating its students who secured high scores in NEET 2024. The list also comprises students from other communities.

Result: False

Sources
Mathrubhumi e-paper
Universal Institute, Kottakkal website
Conversation with Captain Dr Abdul Hameed, principal, Universal Institute


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Authors

Kushel HM is a mechanical engineer-turned-journalist, who loves all things football, tennis and films. He was with the news desk at the Hindustan Times, Mumbai, before joining Newschecker.

Pankaj Menon is a fact-checker based out of Delhi who enjoys ‘digital sleuthing’ and calling out misinformation. He has completed his MA in International Relations from Madras University and has worked with organisations like NDTV, Times Now and Deccan Chronicle online in the past.

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