Ranjan Gogoi, the former chief justice of India and current Rajya Sabha member, is not on Twitter, yet fake accounts created in his name continue to peddle anti-minority hate that has spilled over to Facebook.
BOOM reached out to the former CJI who confirmed that he is not present on Twitter.
While many of these accounts have been suspended, new impostor accounts using variations of his name with misspellings such as 'Gogai' or 'Gogoii' keep cropping up.
Screenshots of tweets in Hindi from 'parody handles' or impostor accounts are often found on right-wing Facebook pages that post communally charged content.
Fake quotes attributed to well known individuals from politics, sports and Bollywood are not a new phenomenon in India. However, India's judiciary was relatively insulated from this trend so far.
Fake news in Gogoi's name started surfacing post November 2019 after the Supreme Court's landmark ruling which paved the way for the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya. The verdict on Ayodhya was read out by Gogoi- the then chief Justice of India.
Below is a round-up of fake statements passed off as the opinion of the former justice, particularly in matters concerning minorities.
Claim targeting Muslims, Buddhists and Christians
The screenshot of a tweet from a handle @RanjanGogoii reads 'How will "Muslims", "Buddhists" and "Christians" celebrate their "festivals"?This will be decided by the members of their "community" but how will "Hindus" celebrate their festivals? This will be decided by Indian court! Discriminatory Articles 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30 and 31 of Indian constitution should now be amended'.
Read our fact check on this claim here.
It is to be noted that Articles 25 to 28 of the Indian constitution ensure Right to Freedom of Religion to an individual while Articles 30 provides 'Right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions' and Article 31 A deals with 'Saving of laws providing for acquisition of estates'. Read more about the Articles here.
The tweet has been shared from a handle @RanjanGogoii but when BOOM looked for the account on Twitter, we couldn't find it. While the handle has been tagged in several Twitter conversations, the account doesn't exist.
Claim targeting Hindu-Muslim harmony
A screenshot of a tweet from the Twitter handle @SGBJP reads 'There's a fashion trending these days...in the name of harmony, namaz is being organised in temples, iftars are being thrown, food and clothes are sent on the occasion of Eid, our satsangis are chanting maula, maula. But have you ever seen a havan in a mosque or hanuman chalisa being played from a loudspeaker in the mosque? No, right. What sort of harmony is this?'.
Click here to read BOOM's fact check on the claim.
The comments on the Facebook posts suggest that people believe it to be a statement made by the former CJI.
BOOM looked for the Twitter handle @SGBJP and found that it has been suspended.
We did a keyword search with the statement and found several tweets which had the same statement.
Screenshots of tweets from the suspended handle @SGBJP showing other communally charged tweets have been viral earlier too. BOOM has tracked these statements to several Facebook pages.
The tweet in the screenshot translates to 'If having a child in a personal right, which cannot be banned, then how come the government is responsible if these children go hungry?'.
BOOM's fact check on this viral claim can be read here.
Message calling for attacking minorities
A screenshot of a tweet from the handle @THEGOGAI translates to 'Those who are screaming President's rule, President's rule now, let me tell you one thing that if situation remains the same, that days is not far that even the President will be theirs. What will you do then? So it's better that get organised and retaliate and safeguard your religion and nation'.
BOOM tracked the Twitter handle and found it to be a parody fan page.
While the description on the Twitter account does mention it is a parody page, the screenshots of the tweets when shared on Facebook can be easily passed off as tweets from the former CJI.
Read here a fact check by BOOM on this claim.
The tweets from the handle are mostly pro-Hindutva and pro-right wing.
Meanwhile BOOM checked for other impostor handles operating in the name of justice Ranjan Gogoi and found that while some of them have been suspended, others are still functioning under the description of parody account. Click here and here to see impostor accounts in the name of the former CJI that have been suspended.
Claim Review : Various fact checks related to communal statements viral in name of former chief justice of India Ranjan Gogoi
Claimed By : Social media handles
Fact Check : False