In a rather unfortunate turn of events, BJP leader Amit Malviya's efforts to fact check a post by Congress' Rahul Gandhi has earned him a warning label from Twitter. The posts in question had pertained to allegations of police brutality amid the ongoing farmer agitation in and around the national capital.
It began with a photo tweeted by Gandhi on November 28. "This is a very sad photo. Our slogan was 'Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan', but today a soldier is standing against the farmer due to PM Modi's arrogance. This is very dangerous," he wrote in Hindi sharing a picture of a soldier brandishing a baton at an old farmer. The photo was shared by others including Congress leader Shashi Tharoor.
This photo and associated video has since been shared by many other well known handles who have hit out at the Modi government over the recent situation. And as many took it upon themselves to lambast the government over the alleged attacks against farmers, others rushed to fact check the visuals.
"Rahul Gandhi must be the most discredited opposition leader India has seen in a long long time," tweeted BJP IT Cell Chief Amit Malviya sharing two video clips. "Propaganda" and "Reality" he captioned the clips.
Unfortunately, Twitter does not seem to be in agreement with this assessment of reality, and Malviya's post has been flagged by the micro-blogging site as containing "manipulated media".
Twitter claims attached to posts by well known and highly followed officials have become something of a trend recently. US President Donald Trump's posts have being thus labelled with alarming frequency in recent weeks.
In this particular case, oddly enough, there have been 'fact check' articles that support both Gandhi's claims as well as Malviya's backing it up with other tweeted accounts. While this makes it quite difficult to ascertain which version is true, it must be mentioned that the there several Twitter users that have shared extended versions of the clip that Malviya claims is the "reality". This clip incidentally, shows officials brandishing sticks at multiple people as they pass. This extended version of the clip makes it impossible to say with certainty that police batons did not touch the farmers.
One of the fact checks, by BoomLive, went a step further, reportedly identifying and contacting the farmer in question to confirm whether he was indeed hit by the batons. "My arms have turned black and blue where the lathi hit me and there are bruises on my back too," the article quotes him as stating.
Photos shared by PTI's Ravi Choudhary also paint a slightly different picture.