We are back with a brand new season, where we shall focus on popular trends in the fake news universe.
In this episode, we shall explore the strange case of RMVM School in Valsad, Gujarat.
Since 2017, the school has been targeted with a massive misinformation campaign. A series of unrelated images and videos of child abuse were shared on WhatsApp and social media, alleging that they portrayed instances of horror faced by the students of RMVM School at the hands of their teachers.
So we drove to Valsad, and spoke to the teachers, students and the principal, to find out what really happened.
Here is an excerpt from this week’s episode:
One afternoon in the month of March 2017, Bijal Patel received a strange message on her WhatsApp. When she opened it up she found a video with the following caption: "This video is from RM VM school from Valsad. Share this video as much as you can, so that the school is shut down."
The message disturbed her deeply. You see, she knew RMVM School in Valsad, she was after all the principal of this school. And what shocked her even more was the video itself. It showed a man beating up a few young children with a stick - in a manner so brutal that it will send a chill along your spine. How on earth could that have happened under her watch?
But, THAT was just the beginning.
Since then, the name RMVM Valsad has become synonymous with abuse - owing to a series of graphic videos, from children being beaten up and abused to a man roasting a little puppy alive, all going viral with the claim that they depict real scenes of horror from RM VM School Valsad.
However, none of these videos had anything to do with the school, and most of them turned out to be from other countries. But these videos kept coming.
This is an episode about how fake news almost ruined a school.