A Pakistan-based Twitter handle on Saturday triggered a row after it falsely tweeted that there was communal tension in a village in Telangana after members of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) attacked a Muslim village.
"#Breaking: #RSSTerrorist attacked #Muslim Village in #Telangana #india, Many houses burnt and many muslims injured, Reports of #AsaduddinOwaisi also got injured (sic)," the tweet said, attaching two images. While one image showed several young men carrying saffron flags, the other showed police personnel walking in the background, behind a burning bike.
As some people began sharing the tweet, Telangana Director General of Police (DGP) Mahender Reddy debunked the news.
"The news was immediately verified on the ground and it is completely false. It appears that miscreants with the intention of creating fear in the minds of the people and to destabilise communal harmony in society are spreading rumours and misinformation on social media platforms," the DGP said.
"Therefore, it is advised not to believe in such fake messages. Before forwarding, please verify the source and authenticity of the message. If you still have doubt about the message, please inform the police immediately and do not forward it blindly. If anyone is found forwarding such fake messages in order to create instability and disharmony in the society, criminal cases will be registered against them and they will be dealt with stringently," he added.
@hydcitypolice @cyberabadpolice @RachakondaCop @cpwrlc @cpkarimnagar @cp_nizamabad @cpramagundam @MBNRpolice @Vikarabadpolice @spmedak @spsangareddy @sp_kamareddy @spbhoopalpalli https://t.co/NpDnuYxQBr pic.twitter.com/wvRHIJm1sPâ€” DGP TELANGANA POLICE (@TelanganaDGP) August 17, 2019
Hyderabad Commissioner Anjani Kumar also replied to the tweet, stating, "No such incident took place anywhere in Hyderabad city or in Telangana state. The post is a fake and fabricated one. The miscreants clubbed unrelated photos to create the fake news which is liable for punishment."
â€ś No such incident took place anywhere in Hyderabad City or in Telangana State. The post is a fake and fabricated one. The miscreants clubbed unrelated photos to create the fake news which is liable for punishmentâ€ť.â€” Anjani Kumar, IPS (@CPHydCity) August 17, 2019
A fact check done by Factly.in found that the photos circulated with the fake tweet were originally from 2006 and 2017.
Factly reported that the photo of the youth was taken by a Reuters journalist, when a group called Hindu Yuva Vahini took out a rally in Uttar Pradesh, while the other photo was taken during communal clashes in Mangalore in 2006.