Disturbing hate campaign against Rohingyas gets exposed again

As the anti-Rohingya rhetoric on social media rises, photographs of children are being misused in the divisive propaganda, a BOOM report said

Photo by Jasjeet Plaha/ Hindustan Times
Photo by Jasjeet Plaha/ Hindustan Times

NH Web Desk

Some bigots just can't break out of their gutter rat mentality even amidst a humanitarian crisis. After the messages and images linking Rohingya with cannibalism flooding social media were found to be fake last week, hate-mongers are now misusing pictures of children to fuel their hate-campaign against the “most persecuted minority” in the world.

Apprehending that the ongoing hate-campaign against Rohingyas could worsen in the coming days after the Burmese Army has blamed Muslim Rohingya militants for the killings of 28 Hindus in Rakhine, BOOM—an independent online resource to cross check urban legends, myths and rumours—has debunked two new fake-news stories—which have been making round on social media, in the last 24 hours.

“The fake stories were weaved around actual photos of children. The reactions and comments on these posts show that they have been extremely effective in stirring religious bigotry,” the report said.

According to report, Ravinder Sangwan, who goes by the Twitter handle @Shanknaad and who is followed by Railways Minister Piyush Goyal, tweeted an image of a little girl holding an infant. The image appears to be a screenshot from a BBC News video.

“Sangwan claimed that the girl was 14 years old and had two children. He also claimed she was married to a 56-year old man who had six wives and 18 children. But Sangwan’s story is a figment of imagination. BOOM traced the screenshot to BBC News’ video – ‘In the jungle with Rohingya refugees feeling Myanmar ‘ uploaded on YouTube on September 4,” the report stated, adding that “in the video, BBC’s correspondent Sanjoy Majumder is seen trekking alongside people fleeing Myanmar. The girl in the image can be seen at 2 minutes and 6 seconds. The girl is not mentioned in the clip proving that the backstory given to her by social media is fake.”

In another case, advocate Prashant P Umrao tried to pass off the image of a sick child in Brazil as that of a pregnant Rohingya refugee girl at a UN clinic.

Disturbing hate campaign against Rohingyas gets exposed again
Screenshot of the tweet by Prashant P Umrao which was later deleted

“Once again, his story turned out to be fake. Umrao subsequently deleted his tweet when called out by BOOM on Twitter,” the report revealed, adding that BOOM found a Facebook post going back to November 2016 which contained several photos of the girl. “The post in Portuguese states that Sandy Brandão da Cruz, 12, a resident of the city of Garrafão do Norte, Pará (Brazil) was hospitalized at the Barros Barreto Hospital in Belém. She was suffering from a problems of the liver and spleen.”

“It’s not just Hindu or Buddhists nationalists who are guilty of using fake images online to rally support,” the report maintained, claiming that the fresh outbreak of violence in Rakhine since August 25 has sparked a steady stream of inflammatory but nevertheless fake images from both sides that are muddying public opinion about the conflict.

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