Suresh Chavhanke, Editor-in-Chief of Sudarshan News tweeted an old photo of a Ramzan gift pack to falsely claim that the Telangana state government distributed it during the ongoing nationwide lockdown due to COVID-19.
BOOM accessed a Telangana government memo dated April 27, 2020, which said that all programs relating to the festival have been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The image shows a pink bag with the logo of the Telangana government and 'Eid Mubarak Ramzan gift' written on it.
Chavhanke tweeted the image falsely linking it to the ongoing lockdown. His tweet had over 9,000 retweets and over 22,000 Likes, at the time of writing this article.
"The Telangana government is offering special kits during Ramzan to Muslims for free. On Hindu festivals like Ramnavami, Hanuman Jayanti, Ugadi, it was also forbidden to move out of the house," he tweeted.
तेलंगाना सरकार मुसलमानों को रमज़ान कि स्पेशल किट फ्रि में दे रही है।— Suresh Chavhanke "Sudarshan News" (@SureshChavhanke) May 11, 2020
हिन्दू के त्यौहार रामनवमी,हनुमान जयंती,उगादि पर घर से भी बाहर निकलना मना था. pic.twitter.com/8bUb3LaQU6
Viral on Facebook
We searched with the same text on Facebook and found that the image was viral with the same misleading caption.
Govt of Telangana sending Ramzan Gifts...— Sarpa (@Sarpa05934320) May 11, 2020
Shouldn't this move to send gifts only to certain set citizens from a Government should be considered "Communal"?#appeasementpolitics@ArnabGoswamiRTv@HMOIndia @TelanganaCMO @theskindoctor13 @desimojito pic.twitter.com/7TuS5bNhSL
On performing a reverse image search using Google Images, we found that the viral image goes as far back as 2015. The search results showed a July 2015 article that had the same image stating that the Telangana Government would be distributing gift packs of 500-500 rupees to poor Muslim families during Ramzan.
While we could not establish when exactly the photo was taken, it is possible that the image could be older than 2015.
The Telangana government has in the past distributed Ramzan gift packs, however this year due to the spread of the Coronavirus it has not done so.
A memo by the Minorities Welfare Department dated April 27, 2020, says that all government programs pertaining to Ramzan this year had been canceled in view of the COVID-19 crisis.
"The state government is not giving Ramzan gift this year due to the Coronavirus situation," Dileep Konatham, Director, Digital Media, Government of Telangana, said.
Telangana Chief Minister Chandrasekhar Rao at a recent press conference said that the Ramzan gift bags would not be distributed as people would touch the bags with their hands and there is a chance for the virus to spread.
Krishank Manne, Telangana Rashtra Samiti leader and head of the party's social media wing tweeted the clip from the press conference calling out Chavhanke.
Hon'ble CM KCR made it clear in the PC ----— krishanKTRS (@krishanKTRS) May 12, 2020
As people will touch the bags with their hands and there is a chance for virus to spread , Government will not be distributing Ramzan gifts for this year...
Will be glad If BJP and their mouthpieces stop spreading Fake News https://t.co/7oRWANmoG5 pic.twitter.com/kmxHhgvXKC
BOOM spoke to Manne, who also said that the government was not distributing the Ramzan kits this year and said that the government also distributes such kits during other festivals like Dushera.
On searching with the keywords, 'gifts', 'Christmas', 'Dushera', we found news reports on the Telangana government distributing gift schemes to the poor during other festivals also like during Bathukamma and Christmas.
The false claim was earlier fact-checked by Newsmeter.
Telangana has reported 1275 positive COVID-19 cases and 30 deaths while writing this article. Follow BOOM's LIVE blog for recent updates: Coronavirus LIVE Update: India's Cases Rise To 70,756; 2,293 Dead
With inputs from Newsmeter
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