The fake news brigade had a field day on Thursday as social media remained abuzz with all kinds of misinformation centered mainly around Kerala’s Wayanad district, from where the president of Indian National Congress party, Rahul Gandhi, filed his election nomination on April 4, 2019.
All the viral claims targeting Rahul Gandhi and Congress party have a communal angle to them.’The posts claim Pakistani flags were waved at Rahul Gandhi’s pre-nomination rally in Wayanad and accused Congress of converting India into an Islamic state.
BOOM fact checked the claims and found all of them to be fake.
The flags in all the images in the viral posts, claimed to be Pakistani flags, are actually the party flag of Indian Union Muslim League (IUML).
IUML is a political party in Kerala recognised by the Election Commission of India, and is an ally of the Congress party among others in the United Democratic Front.
One can clearly see that there are visible differences between the flags of Pakistan and IUML party. Not only does the Pakistani flag has a white stripe at the left hand, the crescent and star on it are also positioned differently than the IUML flag.
However, time and again attempts have been made to pass off IUML flags at Congress rallies in Kerala as Pakistani flags.
The flags shown in all the viral posts are the IUML banners. Waving the green banner with an imprint of crescent and moon is a regular affair at IUML as well as Congress rallies in Kerala.
Several videos of the pre-nomination rally were also shared with captions of Pakistani/Islamic flags being waved by Congress supporters. Twitterati were on a roll sharing videos from Wayanad claiming there were more ‘Pakistani flags’ in the rally compared to the Indian tricolor.
The flags raised at Congress’ Wayanad rally – uniformly green with a crescent and moon imprint at the corner – is quite different from the national flag of Pakistan.
The caption with this viral post claims that it is the Congress’ party office in Kerala. However, when BOOM inspected the image minutely, at least two evidences were spotted which pointed out that it was an IUML office and not Congress’.
The image on the top left corner of the picture – that of a ladder – depicts the party symbol of the Indian Union Muslim League.
Also, the poster below the party symbol is that of Syed Muhhamedali Shihab Thangal. Shihab Thangal, president of the Kerala State Committee of the IUML, passed away in 2009.
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Sumit is a fact checker and the News Editor of Boom's Hindi wing. In the six years of his journalistic career, he has worked with the New Indian Express, Times of India and Deccan Chronicle. The dynamic nature of digital media finally made him take the leap from print to online, and don the hat of a digital detective.
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