A viral claim that the actual name of Disha Ravi - the arrested climate activist - is Disha Ravi Joseph and that she is a Christian, is false.
The fake post claims that the 22-year-old arrested by Delhi Police in the toolkit case 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.
Disha Ravi, a co-founder of the Indian chapter of "Fridays for Future", was arrested by the Special Cell of the Delhi Police from Bengaluru on February 13, 2021, and remanded to five-day police custody by a Delhi court on February 14. The Bangalore-based activist, was arrested on charges of editing and sharing a 'toolkit' related to the farmers' protest.
The fake communal claim was shared by several right wing Twitter handles making 'Disha Ravi Joseph' one of the top Twitter trends on Wednesday.
Prashant Patel Umrao, an advocate who has been called out in the past for spreading communally-charged fake news, tweeted, "Disha Ravi Joseph is a Syrian Christian from Kerala. Members of this community always at the forefront of Breaking India movements!"
Umrao later deleted his tweet but below is a screenshot from the archive.
View the archive link here
The same fake claim was amplified by other right wing handles.
View an archive link here
View the archive link here
Dinesh Chaudhary, Bharatiya Janata Party MLA from Jaunpur, Uttar Pradesh also made the same claim that Disha Ravi's full name is Disha Ravi Joseph and that the media is hiding the same.
Several right wing handles, some followed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi made the same false claim that the Bangalore activist is a Christian and drawing parallels to the point that she studied in Mount Carmel College because of her religion.
BOOM reached out to Ravi's friends and batch mates from her college - Mount Carmel College, who denied that her real name is Disha Ravi Joseph or that she was a Syrian Christian.
One of Ravi's friends told us, "Her full name is Disha Annappa Ravi and she goes by Disha A Ravi with the A standing for Annappa." A second friend confirmed the same and added, "Her full name is Disha Annapa Ravi. She is a Kannadiga."
Debunking the claim that Ravi is a Syrian Christian from Kerala, a third friend said she is from Karnataka adding, "Her native place is in Tiptur, Tumkur and she was raised in a Lingayat household" Lingayats are a community in Karnataka, followers of 12th century poet-philosopher Basavanna and form nearly 17 percent of the state's population.
The same friend further told BOOM that Ravi's mother, Manjula Nanjaiah, is a housewife. "Her father's name is Ravi works with the Karnataka Sports Department in Kanteerava stadium and she was primarily raised by her mother," the friend added.
We then ran a search for 'Disha A. Ravi, Mount Carmel College' and found the annual day report for the 2018 batch. The document which lists details about all the student festivals at the college, has a quote from Ravi describing her experience at Carpe Diem, the business management festival by the Department of Business Studies.
The document has her name mentioned as Disha A. Ravi.
A batch mate of Ravi from Mount Carmel College, confirmed that the document is from their Bachelor of Business Administration batch. "She was part of the finance team of the festival management and the magazine is the annual report of the whole year when we studied there. How does it matter whether she is a Hindu or a Christian? Her name is Disha Ravi and she was working for the environmental protection of the country, so why drag her religion into this issue?" said her batch mate. The document can be accessed here