Climate activist Disha Ravi has been a constant target of fake news and disinformation since her arrest on charges of editing and sharing a 'toolkit' - an online document related to the farmers' protest.
Fake news spread on Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp that made false claims that the 22-year-old activist was a Syrian Christian from Kerala, the amount being paid to her lawyer with many of them spread by right wing supporters and other by fake accounts that cropped up in Ravi's name.
Ravi, a founding member of the Indian chapter of "Fridays for Future was arrested by Delhi Police from her residence in Bangalore, on February 13, 2021 after allegations that the toolkit was linked to the January 26, 2021 violence at the Red Fort. A toolkit is an online document that is publicly available and contains guidelines and reading material about an ongoing protest movement which is mostly compiled by a group of activists.
The environmental activist was granted bail on February 23, 2021, with the Delhi court observing that there is not even an iota of evidence linking her to the Canadian based organisations Poetic Justice Foundation (PJF) and Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) and the actual perpetrators who committed violence at the Red Fort on Republic Day.
BOOM lists how Disha Ravi became the target of fake news and disinformation.
1. Fake Disha Ravi Twitter Accounts Surface
Hours after her arrest, multiple fake accounts impersonating Ravi sprung up on Twitter. While some falsely claimed to be her, with tweets even after she was in the custody of Delhi police, other accounts claimed the account was started and operated by her sister and sometimes a friend.
BOOM reached out to a friend of Ravi's who on the condition of anonymity confirmed that these Twitter accounts are fake, don't belong to Ravi. They also confirmed that Ravi does not have any siblings and hence accounts claiming to be run by her sister are fake.
2. Her Name Is Disha Ravi, Not Disha Ravi Joseph: Friends Rubbish Fake Claim
A fake claim that the actual name of Disha Ravi is Disha Ravi Joseph and that she is a Christian was shared by several right wing Twitter handles making 'Disha Ravi Joseph' one of the top Twitter trends on February 17, 2021. The fake post shared also by Prashant Patel Umrao, falsely claimed that Ravi is a Syrian Christian from Kerala and not a Hindu and hence was part of a movement supporting farmers' protest.
BOOM spoke to the activist's friends and a batch mate from Mount Carmel College, Bangalore on condition of anonymity who rubbished the claim and said that Disha's father's name is Ravi and that she is a Hindu.
3. No, Disha Ravi Did Not Hire Akhil Sibal For Lakhs To Appear In Court
Viral social media posts falsely claimed that Ravi hired advocate Akhil Sibal, son of Congress leader Kapil Sibal, to represent her for an enormous sum of Rs 5 lakh to Rs 7 lakh per appearance.
BOOM reached out to Akhil Sibal who clarified that he is defending the "case pro bono and has not charged any amount for the same."
Updated On: 2021-02-24T15:54:08+05:30