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Fact Check

LS Phase 2: Misinfo On EVMs, Scraping Reservations, Communal Claims Go Viral

BOOM debunked 20 pieces of misinformation, most of which revolved around videos of EVMs, claims of scraping reservations and communal claims.

By - Anmol Alphonso | 6 May 2024 1:29 PM GMT

Claims of rigging electronic voting machines (EVMs), claims of scrapping reservations, old videos and communal claims, were the dominant themes of misinformation in the second phase of polling.

BOOM fact-checked around 20 pieces of misinformation from April 26, 2024 to May 5.

False claims surrounding videos of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), old and cropped videos including Home Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Amit Shah's video was shared claiming his party would scrap reservations, and communal allegations aimed at the Muslim community were among the debunked claims.

The run-up to Phase 3 saw the Constitution and reservations dominating the poll discourse, along with speeches given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi targeting the Congress claiming that they will give reservations to Muslim community.

Old and cropped video of Amit Shah shared claiming BJP would scrap reservation

An old video of Home Minister Amit Shah talking about ending Muslim reservation in Telangana was doctored and shared with a false claim that it showed him promising to end reservations for Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs) and Other Backward Classes (OBCs) communities if the BJP is voted back to power.

The video was shared by several Congress party accounts after Shah had dismissed Congress's allegation that his party would end reservation if they crossed more than 400 seats in the Lok Sabha elections.


Click here to view an archive

BOOM found that the viral video has been edited and in the original video Amit Shah is seen talking about ending Muslim reservation in Telangana if BJP is voted to power in the state.

Doctored video misreported as 'Deepfake'


The doctored video was also falsely labelled as a 'deepfake' by other Bharatiya Janata Party leaders, and various mainstream Indian media outlets.

While speaking at a rally in Satara, Maharashtra, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also falsely referred to this video as being altered using artificial intelligence.

However, the video is not a deepfake but has been made by splicing different portions of Shah's speech together to make the false claim.

 

Also Read:The Problem With Wrongly Labelling Real Or Edited Videos As 'Deepfakes'


Videos of EVMs viral with misleading claims

Soon after voting in the second phase began on April 26, 2024, a video showing a polling agent press the EVM button five times for the BJP candidate during a mock poll was being shared online with the misleading claim that it was captured during voting in the second phase of the Lok Sabha election.


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BOOM found that the viral video was captured during a mock poll and the votes cast were cleared before actual polling began.

Another old video of a man slamming an EVM control unit on the floor during the Karnataka Assembly elections was revived with a misleading claim that the incident is recent and took place during the ongoing Lok Sabha elections.


Click here to view an archive.

BOOM found that the incident in the viral video is old and happened in Mysuru during the Karnataka assembly election in May, 2023.

Communal claims

Several communal claims targeting the Muslim community went viral during this phase. An old video showing hate speech by a Muslim cleric in Bangladesh was being peddled with a false communal spin, linking it to the ongoing elections.


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BOOM found that the viral video dates back to 2021 and is from Bangladesh. It is not related to India or the Congress party and is being shared with the misleading claim on social media.

Another video of an accidental explosion at a Kalyan Jewellers store in Ballari, Karnataka during the refuelling of an air-conditioner went viral on social media with the false claim that it showed a terrorist attack. Some social media posts also falsely claimed that the explosion took place in a Kalyan Jewellers at Mumbai's Borivali neighbourhood.


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BOOM found news reports and statements from the police that confirmed that the explosion was caused due to a refuelling malfunction of the central air conditioning unit at the jewellery store.