Pro-Muslim message displayed on AAP’s Billboard and shared on Facebook
NEW DELHI — An image of a billboard advert from an Indian opposition party that purports to include a pro-Muslim message has been shared repeatedly in multiple Facebook posts. The image, however, has been doctored from a photo of a billboard that displayed a different message.
The misleading image was shared here in a Facebook group with more than 250,000 followers.
It purports to show a billboard advertisement from India’s opposition Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
The advert appears to read: “Gujarat will read Namaz. Quit useless traditions like Bhagwat Gita week and Satyanarayan Katha.”
Namaz is a form of prayer performed by the Muslim community.
The Bhagavad Gita and the Satyanarayan Katha are Hindu religious texts.
The post’s Hindi-language caption translates to English as: “Watch the disgusting election campaign of the Aam Aadmi Party in Gujarat… The board reads in Gujarati, – ‘Gujarat will read Namaz. Quit unnecessary tendencies like Bhagavad Gita Week and Satyanarayan Katha.’ ”
The post circulated online as the AAP prepared for the 2022 state legislative assembly elections in Gujarat. The build-up to the elections was reported by Indian newspaper The Hindu here.
India’s ruling party Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has maintained a stronghold over the state since 1995.
However, the image of the billboard has been manipulated.
Below is a comparison of the manipulated image in the Facebook posts (L) and the image of the billboard posted by the AAP (R):
On the original billboard, the text reads: “Now Gujarat will change”.
In the manipulated image, this was replaced with: “Gujarat will read Namaz.”
Text was added to the manipulated billboard’s middle section.
In the original image, Gujarat AAP president Gopal Italia appears on the left. He does not have a beard and can be seen wearing a different cap to the man pictured in the doctored image.
The AAP debunked the manipulated billboard image in a Facebook post here.
The post’s caption reads: “Another Fake News Busted Rise of AAP in Gujarat is giving sleepless nights to BJP.”
— AFP Fact Check