The Bharatiya Janata Party's West Bengal unit posted a video from its official Facebook and Twitter handles, where it passed of an image of Abhro Banerjee, an India Today journalist, as Manik Moitra, a slain BJP worker from Sitalkuchi in Cooch Behar district of West Bengal.
According to news reports, Moitra was shot dead by unknown assailants in the morning of May 3, a day after Trinamool Congress' landslide victory in the state. Moitra's local assembly constituency of Sitalkuchi, however, was won by BJP candidate Barenchandra Barman.
Banerjee later took to social media to state that he was not Manik Moitra, as claimed by the caption in the video, and clarified that he was alive and safe. BOOM reached out to Banerjee for a comment, and the article will be updated following a response.
On May 5, BJP Bengal posted the video on its verified Facebook and Twitter handles, where it claimed to show a compilation of incidents of violence by TMC supporters on BJP workers across the state. The video contained an image of Banerjee, but with a text caption claiming that he is Manik Moitra from Sitalkuchi.
A day after the post was shared, Banerjee himself took to Facebook and Twitter to verify that he was not Manik Moitra, as claimed in BJP's video, and that he was alive and safe.
"I am Abhro Banerjee, living and hale and hearty and around 1,300 km away from Sitalkuchi. BJP IT Cell is now claiming I am Manik Moitra and died in Sitalkuchi. Please don't believe these fake posts and please don't worry. I repeat: I am (still) alive," he wrote.
Soon after Banerjee's posts went viral, BJP Bengal took down the video from both Twitter and Facebook. It later put out a tweet, stating that Banerjee's image was used erroneously "while using an article by him as a source for the content" (on Moitra's murder).
The conclusion of the months-long gruelling and high-tension campaign and polling in West Bengal has been marred by reports of post-poll violence across the state. In the midst of this spate of violence, we have also seen a sharp rise in fake news, to either add false communal angle to inter-party violence, or add false political angle to unrelated crimes.
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