Even as India is battling a pandemic, the Congress has been sharing fake clips to spread alarm and panic around what could help put it an end to it — vaccines. And now sports stars seem to be joining in.
Harbhajan Singh today shared a clip which appeared to show some people only posing for pictures while receiving the coronavirus vaccine, but not actually taking it. “In reality this is how some of our leaders are taking the vaccine. Picture khich gayi ok good (They’re only posing for pictures, not taking the shot),” he wrote on Twitter.
This clip, however, had already been proved to be misleading by The News Minute — the people in the video were doctors, and had already taken the vaccine. They had later posed for pictures at the request of the press.
A viral message along with two videos claiming to be that of Tumakuru health officials “pretending” to take doses of the vaccine went viral on Thursday. This message, however, has been ascertained as fake and misleading, Tumakuru Deputy Commissioner Dr Rakesh Kumar said. The videos he is referring to are of Dr Rajani and Dr Nagendrappa posing for photos as though they are being administered a dose of vaccine.
Speaking to TNM, Tumakuru Deputy Commissioner Dr Rakesh Kumar said that the message that Dr Rajani was “pretending” to take the vaccine is blatantly false. “This is clearly a misunderstanding. Dr Rajani had been given the first dose of the vaccine on January 16. The press reporters had not got visuals of the vaccine being injected and asked her to pose for the pictures, which is what she did. She was not pretending to take the vaccine,” Tumakuru DC, Dr Rakesh Kumar said. Local television channel reporters too confirmed to TNM that Dr Rajani had posed for the pictures and the video upon their request.
But even before Harbhajan Singh had shared the fake clip, it had been amplified by senior Congress workers. Srinivas B V, the national president of the Youth Congress, had shared the clip yesterday with the caption “Vaccination Drive?”
The clip was also shared by Mini Nagare, whose Twitter bio says she’s the National Coordinator of Training, Social Media of the Indian Youth Congress. She went on to falsely claim that the doctors in the videos were BJP leaders.
The same fake claim had been made by Ashok Basoya, who is an AICC member. He had also claimed that the two doctors in the video were BJP leaders.
But even after the video has shown to be fake, Congress workers still had their tweets on their timelines, and had not deleted it. It appears to have made its way to Harbhajan Singh, who went ahead and shared it with the same irresponsible claim. This isn’t the first time that Harbhajan Singh has courted controversy on Twitter — earlier this year, he’s appealed for donations to Pakistani cricketer Shahid Afridi’s charity, which had led to widespread outrage from Indians. At that point, he’d apologized and said he’d have no relationship with Shahid Afridi henceforth.
Update: Harbhajan Singh has now deleted the tweet and apologized. “My Apologies guys didn’t check the facts,” he wrote on Twitter.