Avi Dandiya's video linking BJP with Pulwama attack busted as fake news; NRI notorious for OTT, doctored content on social media

Avi Dandiya is a US-based businessman. His Twitter description reads 'Founder Team Clean Jaipur, Member MohabbatKeDange/Riots of love, Founder Screams of Soul. Largest NRI initiative during Uttrakhand disaster.' However, Dandiya, who is known for his Facebook page 'Mohabbat ke Dange', faced widespread criticism after he posted a doctored audio clip in connection to the Pulwama terror attack, which claimed the lives of at least 40 CRPF personnel.

In a Facebook live on Saturday, Dandiya claimed that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) — which heads the government at the Centre — was responsible for the 14 February attack on a CRPF convoy in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama. He presented an audio clip of a fake conversation between Home Minister Rajnath Singh and BJP president Amit Shah to support his claim. An unidentified woman was also heard in the clip, reports said.

The audio clip was edited to make it seem like the BJP leaders were "hatching" a conspiracy to arouse nationalistic sentiments through the deaths of Indian soldiers. However, it was flagged by a Twitter user Arif Khan, who pointed out that the clips of Singh's voice were, in fact, taken from an old interview with India Today. Khan's observation was corroborated by an investigation by fact-check platform Alt News.

Alt News also provided a rough transcription of the purported conversation between Shah and Singh, according to Dandiya's doctored audio clip. The transcript is the report is as follows:

“AMIT SHAH – देश की जनता को गुमराह किया जा सकता है. और हम मानते भी है चुनाव के लिए युद्ध करने की ज़रुरत है. (The country’s citizens can be misled. And we believe that war needs to happen for elections.)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN – आपके कहने से ये तो नहीं होता है अमितजी बिना मुद्दे के आप युद्ध कैसे करेंगे। अगर आतंकवादी हुम्ला करते है तो आतंकवादी हमले की करवाई हो सकती है. (It can’t happen just because you said so, Amitji. War cannot be fought without a motive. If terrorists attack then the terror attack can be investigated.)

RAJNATH SINGH – जवानो के सवाल पर हमारी देश बहुत सेंसेटिव है, बहुत संवेदनशील है भावना उनके अंदर कूट कूट कर भरी है (Our country is extremely sensitive when it comes to jawans. They are filled with emotions for them.)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN – देश के जवानो को शहीद करवाना है? (You want to martyr the country’s jawans?)

RAJNATH SINGH – काम के लिए कमज़ोर होते है? (Are you weak for this kind of work?)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN – एक-दो से कुछ भी नहीं होगा, उरी किया था कुछ भी नहीं हुआ. अभी चुनाव है, देश की सुरक्षा को लेके आप बड़ा मुद्दा बना सकते है. उसपे राजनीती खेलिए (Nothing will happen with just 1-2 jawans. We did Uri but nothing had happened. Elections are here, you can make national security your focus. Play politics on it.)

Several journalists and activists cited reports by Boom Live and Alt News and slammed Dandiya for his "dangerous and manufactured" clip of "fake news against the BJP". According to reports, the video was viewed more than a million times before it was taken down.

Who is Avi Dandiya?

Dandiya is known for the videos he posts on his Facebook page 'Mohabbat ke Dange'. A website with the same name is reportedly now unavailable. In the past, he has posted videos about the Centre's schemes and policies, and also his opinion regarding topical events.

In 2013, Dandiya worked towards organising support from NRIs during the Uttarakhand flash floods tragedy, that had left death and destruction it its wake. According to a report by The Times of India, Dandiya had also wanted to build cheap houses in the state. However, a large part of Dandiya's past rants seems to have been taken down from his platforms.

Several Pakistani publications like siasat.pk, and Daily Capital, picked up Dandiya's video with the doctored audio clip about the attack before it was removed from the social media platform. The video also went viral in India.

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Updated Date: Mar 04, 2019 14:51:22 IST