A photo of a bungalow in Aranmula, Kerala is being shared with the false claim that it shows a house owned by a person who used caste-based reservations to get into elite educational institutions and amass wealth.
The post goes on to claim that the person studied at the National Institute of Technology (NIT) and Indian Institute of Management (IIM) while giving it an anti-reservation spin.
BOOM found that the viral claim is false. We spoke to the former owner of the property who ran a homestay at the place and he denied the viral claim clarifying that neither he nor the current owner of the place has studied from either an NIT or IIM.
Joy Mathew, the former owner of the property, confirmed to BOOM that the property was previously a homestay called 'DJ Holidays' in Aranmula, Pathanamthitta district in Kerala. Mathew stated that neither he nor the current owner of the property is an NIT or IIM alumni. BOOM also visited the spot and confirmed that it is the same place as seen in the photo.
A Twitter user named Anuradha (@talk2anuradha) tweeted the viral photo with the caption reading, "This house belongs to my friend who comes from a lower caste family. He got admision to NITs based on quota despite scoring less. He again used the same reservation 2 get job in PSU. He was not happy with his job, so he used the same reservation for IIM. #independenceday"
Click here to view the post.
The account later after being called out by several users for sharing an unrelated photo, tweeted calling the claims made in the tweet 'satire' and saying the photo is for 'reference'.
Click here to view the post.
BOOM found that the property in the viral photo was formerly owned by Joy Mathew who ran a homestay called 'DJ Holidays' in Aranmula, Pathanamthitta district in Kerala till 2018. We were also able to confirm from Mathew that he is neither an IIM nor NIT alumni and neither is the current owner Santhosh.
BOOM went through tweets of the viral post and found a Twitter reply where a user Advaid tweeted a photo of a homestay property located in Aranmula, Kerala stating that it is owned by Joy Mathew citing 'Kerala Info' website. He further posted a screenshot of the website mentioning the property name as "D J Holidays Pathanamthitta Homestay".
Click here to view the tweet.
Taking a cue, we ran a keyword search for "D J Holidays Pathanamthitta Homestay" and found another website named Kerala Search carrying some contact details about the property. We then called the numbers mentioned on the website and got in touch with the property's former owner Joy Mathew.
"Neither an IIM or NIT alumni": Joy Mathew, Former owner of D J Holidays Homestay
BOOM visited Mathew's residence which is right behind the property that was earlier a homestay. Mathew dismissed the viral claim and told BOOM that he has not studied at either an NIT or IIM.
He identified himself as a Marthoma Christian which comes under the general category bracket, making him ineligible for reservations. Mathew also stated that he is a Non Residential Indian (NRI) and had gone to the US in 1994.
Mathew further told BOOM that he ran the homestay business from 2010 to 2017, and in 2018 sold the property seen in the viral photo to a person - Santhosh. He added that Santhosh had shifted to the UAE right after completing his Bachelor's also did not study in an NIT or IIM.
When BOOM visited the place in the viral photo, we were told that it was currently under renovation by the current owner Santhosh. The place scene in the photo below matches the location in the viral photo.
BOOM has reached out to the current owner Santhosh for a response, the article will be updated on receiving one.
BOOM had previously debunked misinformation around reservations when a graphic went viral falsely claiming BR Ambedkar said reservations in India should be abolished the day a tribal woman becomes president of the country.
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