An audio clip, purportedly of Indian steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal voicing his opinions on religion, politics, PM Narendra Modi and secularism, is doing the rounds of social media. We have received this audio clip on our Whatsapp tipline too. The clip, which is over four minutes long, questions India’s policy of secularism, how Western countries follow a “one-religion” concept and why anything Prime Minister Narendra Modi does is unfairly viewed through “the prism of Hinduism”.
Newschecker first looked up speeches of the UK-based Lakshmi Mittal and a comparison of the voices raised our doubts over who is the actual speaker in the viral clip.
We noted that at the 1:58 mark, the speaker said, “My grandfather was the second-largest steel manufacturer in the country after the Tatas. We were so heavily restricted by the British government to not manufacture more…”. Taking a cue from this, we ran a relevant keyword search, which led us to this Hindustan Times profile of Mittal, dated June 24, 2006.
According to the article, “Lakshmi Niwas Mittal was born nearly penniless in Sadulpur, Rajasthan, in a house built by his grandfather. The village in the Shekhawati region did not have electricity. His father Mohan Mittal studied only up to high school, but his contemporaries saw him as a visionary with the extraordinary ability to identify potentially profitable technology. In the early ’60s, the family moved to Calcutta and Mohan Mittal took over a small steel factory,” indicating that the person in the viral clip is not Mittal. Similar articles can be seen here and here.
We learnt that this audio clip had gone viral in the past and the official Twitter handle of ArcelorMittal confirmed, via a tweet dated September 19, 2019, that the speaker is not Mittal, who is the company’s executive chairman.
Also, we could not find any news report of Mittal speaking about PM Modi as heard in the viral clip. According to a Mint report, dated March 7, 2021, when Mittal met the PM, he complimented PM Modi for the development of Kevadia (where the Statue of Unity is located) which he said is a “pride of India”. “One can see the reflection of our Hon Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modiji’s far-sightedness, strong leadership and broad thinking everywhere in Kevadia,” Mittal reportedly wrote in the guest book in Hindi, adding, “I was left wondering how in a short time the Prime Minister transformed it. Kevadia is a pride of India. Kevadia is a living symbol of the fact that India is in strong hands and India’s future is secure.”
Viral audio clip falsely claimed to be of Lakshmi Mittal voicing his opinions on Indian secularism, politics and PM Narendra Modi.
Tweet by ArcelorMittal, September 19, 2019
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