About a week ago, violence suddenly began to erupt in Maharashtra’s Amravati followed by Malegaon, Nanded and Parbhani. The violence was communal in nature where about 8,000 people gathered on the streets of Amravati to participate in it. The aftermath of Tripura violence led to some Muslim organisations to organise a protest in these towns which eventually led to a counter protest by the Hindu Right. Stones were pelted, shops were burnt and section 144 was also imposed. Each side of the aisle blamed eachother for the violence but this led to a peculiar hashtag to trend on Twitter.
The hashtag #भाई_नही_चारा_हो began trending on Twitter after the violence with the tweets mostly containing hateful comments for the minority community. The hashtag is a wordplay on “Bhaichara” which signifies brotherhood. The hashtag breaks the word down and goes against the idea of “bhaichara”. In addition to the hate, the hashtag is about 80% full of fake and misleading news that even the Maharashtra Government has taken cognisance of.
Below we provide you with a detailed analysis of who was behind this hashtag and flag some of the fake news circulating within it.
Focal points of the article:
- @Deepak_viml interacted the most with the hashtag with 148 times followed by ankush_29_oct and akjaipur1744 with 101 and 97 times respectively.
- The timeline shows that the hashtag was trending on November 14 with over 14k tweets and replies. Below is a graph showing the same.
- The world cloud shows that “Rahul Gandhi”, “Tripura”, “Violence”, and “Hindu” were amongst the most popular words used.
- We found that yogidevnath2 was mentioned 505 times followed by jaishriramsena and romeshshah2 with 226 and 181 times.
- A total of 6 verified account interacted with the hashtag including BJP leaders and a journalist from Sudarshan News.
1.Accounts who tweeted and replied to the hashtag the most:
|Twitter Username||Twitter Bio||Profile Link|
|@Deepak_viml||भगवान कृष्ण ने गीता में कहा है कि अपने धर्म मैं मरना उत्तम है जबकि उस समय तो कोई और धर्म था ही नहीं भगवान को यह बात कहने की क्या जरूरत पड़ी वह जानते थे||https://twitter.com/Deepak_viml|
|@ankush_29_oct||।। सनातनी ।। पथिक ।। आयुर्वेद ।। राष्ट्रीय स्वयंसेवक संघ।। अभाविपि ।।।।राष्ट्र प्रथम।।नमस्ते सदा वत्सले मातृभूमे।।||https://twitter.com/ankush_29_oct|
|akjaipur1744||मनोजवं मारुततुल्यवेगं जितेन्द्रियं बुद्धिमतां वरिष्ठम्।
वातात्मजं वानरयूथमुख्यं श्रीरामदूतम् शरणं प्रपद्ये।।
Here is an interactive graph showing the accounts that interacted with this hateful hashtag the most.
2. Timeline of the Hashtag:
Timeline of a trending hashtag helps us understand when exactly was the hashtag trending and helps us identify the culprits behind the trends. The timeline shows that the hashtag was trending on 14th Nov with over 14k tweets and replies. Below is a graph showing the same.
3. Hashtags used:
Along with the #भाई_नही_चारा_हो hashtag, there were many hashtags that were running parallel to it but with similar motives. For example: #ठरकी_दिवस, #delhiriots, #maharashtraviolence were also trending along with the hashtag.
Before we divulge into the fact-checks, it is important to understand the kind of words that were being used within the hashtag. Below is the Hindi wordcloud. As we can see “Rahul Gandhi”, “
Tripura”, “Violence”, and “Hindu” were amongst the most popular words used.
5. Fact-Checks within the hashtag:
There are various counts of fake news running within the hashtag and here is a fact-check of some of them:
A very popular image being used within the hashtag is that of Rahul Gandhi and Swara Bhaskar’s tweets combined with two other images. One shows a shop being damaged and the other shows a man with a gun. The image is being circulated to show that the two people incited violence and did not show support for Maharashtra Hindus.
Firstly, Bhaskar’s tweet that has been used is dated in 2020 and not a recent comment. Secondly, we looked at the image of the man shooting the gun and found news articles from 2020 riots.
Therefore, the image had nothing to do with Maharashtra rendering the claim misleading.
An image of a woman pelting stones somewhere. The image has been put in juxtaposition of women greeting policemen with thaalis. The user insinuates that the woman was caught throwing stones within the violence in Maharashtra.
— ∅ ?? (@HemmayaK) November 14, 2021
We performed a reverse image search on the image and found that the image was posted atleast as far back at January 2020. We could not verify where the image actually was from by it is definitely not from Maharashtra Riots.
Another image posted within the hashtag showed a mass gathering of Muslims for Namaaz. The user claimed that the people had gathered on November 13, 2021 outside her house accusing them of encroaching public space.
— सौरभ खरे (TTS) (@SaurabhKhare009) November 15, 2021
However, after we performed a reverse image search on the image, we found that the image was actually posted on several stock photo websites and was titled,”Mass Muslims Prayer Eid Ul Fitr Namaz On The Road, Ramzan Eid At Bhendi Bazar In Bombay Now Mumbai , Maharashtra, India”. The stock photo Alaamy also listed the date on which it was taken and it was actually 2004 and not 2021.
Therefore, this claim too is fake.
Now coming back to the data analysis, we wanted to know what were the top accounts that were tagged in these tweets and we found that yogidevnath2 was mentioned 505 times followed by jaishriramsena and romeshshah2 with 226 and 181 times.
|Name||Twitter Bio||Number of Mentions||Account Link|
|yogidevnath2||प्रभारी हिन्दु युवा वाहिनी गुजरात प्रदेश ,मेम्बर अखिल भारत साधु समाज ,अध्यक्ष कच्छ संत समाज||505||https://twitter.com/YogiDevnath2|
|jaishriramsena||संकर सहस बिष्नु अज तोही। सकहिं न राखि राम कर द्रोही।। जय श्रीराम सेना
|romeshshah2||Followed By Union Health Minister Shri @mansukhmandviya ji धर्मो रक्षति रक्षितः #RSS #Swayamsevak Nation First||181||https://twitter.com/ROMESHSHAH2|
Here is a chart of the accounts that were mentioned and tagged the most.
7. Accounts created for the hashtag:
It must be noted that in order to make a hashtag trend, accounts are created to continuously tweet on the hashtags. It is with this data we can identify fake and troll-only accounts. The timeline graph in this case, shows that accounts which interacted with the hashtag were mostly created in October 2021.
- Verified accounts that interacted with the hashtags:
We were able to identify 6 accounts that are verified blue ticked accounts that on more than one count interacted with the hashtag. The interactions included here include comments, tags and retweets.
|Name||Twitter Bio||Account link|
|@YogiDevnath2||प्रभारी हिन्दु युवा वाहिनी गुजरात प्रदेश ,मेम्बर अखिल भारत साधु समाज ,अध्यक्ष कच्छ संत समाज||https://twitter.com/YogiDevnath2
|@vinod_bansal||National Spokesperson – VHP
(Vishwa Hindu Parishad)
|@team_hyv||PRESIDENT HINDU YUVA VAHINI GUJARAT ?BJYM||https://twitter.com/team_hyv
|@surajitdasgupta||Founder & editor of http://sirfnews.com, formerly with MyNation, Hindusthan Samachar, Swarajya, The Pioneer, The Statesman.||https://twitter.com/surajitdasgupta
।।Member BJP National IT/SM Campaign Committee 2019।। Software Architect।। ExCon. Samvadcell।। संवाद से संगठन-संगठन से शक्ति।।#राधे_राधे
|@IAbhay_Pratap||Sr. Journalist.. Web Editor in
राष्ट्रधर्म को समर्पित पत्रकार हूं. ट्वीट संस्थागत नहीं बल्कि व्यक्तिगत हैं. RT सहमति नहीं है. बहुत सरल हूं.
Here are some examples of the tweets these verified account posted:
ये जो आपको 'भाईचारे' का कथित सेक्यूलर पाठ पढ़ाया गया है
इसमें वो 'भाई' बनकर आपको 'चारा' बना रखे हैं और खात्मा कर रहे हैं..!!
उदाहरण के लिए महाराष्ट्र देख लो जिसे त्रिपुरा की झूठी घटनाओं के नाम पर सुलगा दिया गया है..!!#भाई_नही_चारा_हो
— Abhay Pratap Singh (@IAbhay_Pratap) November 14, 2021
जिहादियों के खिलाफ हिंदुओं का इकट्ठा होना बहुत जरूरी है क्योंकि वो हमको भाई नहीं बल्कि चारा समझते हैं!
यह सब महाराष्ट्र की हिंसा ( #MaharashtraRiots ) से पुनः प्रदर्शित हो रहा है #Tripura की गलत खबर फैला कर महाराष्ट्र में हिन्दूओं की दुकानों एवं मकानों पर कहर।#भाई_नही_चारा_हो pic.twitter.com/DCSFsAbcnx
— khemchand sharma #Brajwasi #RadheRadhe (@SharmaKhemchand) November 14, 2021
TRENDING FIRST TQ ALL SAFFRON WARRIORS ?#भाई_नही_चारा_हो
— Yogi Devnath (@YogiDevnath2) November 14, 2021
With our analysis, we can now see in front of us that people who engaged with the hashtag havea Right leaning stance as per their bios and their accounts. The verified account of Yogi Devnath engaged with the hashtag and purposefully amplified the reach of this hashtag. We have previously covered Yogi Devnath whose sole purpose on Twitter is to amplify hateful hashtags and fake news. You can read our reports on him here and here. With this hashtag we can see that fake news and disinformation can cause riots in real life as well. The perpetrators of such hate and fake news must be reprimanded for their actions.
“We have flagged 36 inflammatory and fake news related posts over the past four to five days which were being circulated with the intention of spreading violence in the state. We have got in touch with all the social media platforms and asked them to pull down the posts”, said Maharashtra Cyber Cell. Instances of fake news causing real life violence are nonetheless increasing.