TISS professors Anjali Monteiro and K P Jayasankar, whose photographs were put in a fake news post on social media on the Palghar lynching, have complained to Mumbai police cyber cell after receiving death threats online.
Monteiro and Jayasankar are well-known documentary filmmakers and have won 32 national and international awards.
The social media post, which went viral after three persons, including two sadhus, were lynched in Palghar, claimed two Palghar-based activists were linked to the lynching. However, the post carried the photographs of the two professors.
Monteiro said while Facebook took the post down, it was shared too many times on social media, especially Twitter. Jayasankar said, “The post was retweeted several times with our photographs and people were issuing death threats based on the fake news. We clarified that the photographs were incorrect. We later found other photographs being shared as those of the activists, including one showing painter M F Husain and Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi as the activist couple.”
The professor couple then wrote to the cyber cell of Mumbai police about the misuse of their photographs and the threats. DCP (cyber) Vishal Thakur said, “We have received their email but it is the local police station where they stay which will have to investigate the matter. We will provide technical help in tracing who uploaded it.” The post targeted two activists earlier linked to the Kashtakari Sanghatana, a prominent organisation working for rights of adivasis in Palghar. It claimed that the two activists were trying to secure bail for the accused in the lynching case as they were Christians and the duo headed a Christian organisation.
The Kashtakari Sanghatana later released a statement saying they were not a missionary organisation, nor had they tried to get bail for any of the accused. The statement read that initially there was an attempt to blame Muslims for the incident. “However, when it came to light that there were no Muslims in the village, they tried other targets, including trying to blame us when we have no links to the incident,” the statement signed by Brian Lobo, a member, said.
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