By: Soumadip Dey
Claim: A newspaper cutting has been shared on social media claiming that Rahul Gandhi has renounced Hinduism after Congress won the recent state elections.
What Happened: A newspaper cutting from the Hindi newspaper Dainik Jagran has been circulated on social media. The paper cutting shows a headline that translates to: ‘I do not believe in any kind of Hindutva: Rahul’.
The image has been shared on social media with the following caption: ‘भाई चुनाव के बाद तो पप्पु के रंग ही बादल गए l ये शिव भक्त से direct माहिशासुर भक्त हो गया है ,’ which can be translated as ‘Pappu has completely changed after the elections. He directly became a Mahishasur bhakt from Ram Bhakt.’ Mahishasura is a complex figure in Hinduism, reviled by Brahmins but worshipped by Dalits. The context of this statement on social media clearly indicates that the writer comes from the upper castes of Hinduism.
Facts: The image is not a recent one, and the narrative attached to it is out of context. Metafact ran a basic Google reverse search of the image, which gave us the original uncropped version of the newspaper, where the date of the article can be clearly seen as the 15th of August, 2018, well before the Congress victories in the assembly elections took place.
The quote itself, however, is true. The Congress president Rahul Gandhi had made this statement at the time, and it was reported on by several other mainstream media outlets. The BJP had also criticized Rahul Gandhi for his comments. However, unlike how the Facebook posts have presented it, it was not made recently by Rahul Gandhi.
Conclusion: This is not the first time that old and outdated news articles or images have been recycled for the purposes of political propaganda. Social media users are advised to cross check this sort of news before sharing it on their own wall, especially when the most prominent political figures in the country are involved. Metafact had recently debunked another Rahul Gandhi story, which recycled old images to claim he had converted to Islam.