AltNews co-founder Pratik Sinha presented factual information by 'True Indology' as 'disinformation' while attempting to ‘fact-check’ an old picture of a Hindu Sadhu.
On November 23, Pratik Sinha, co-founder of fact-checking website Alt News targetted a social media page 'TrueIndology’, well known for post interesting information about Indian history backed by facts and references by putting out a tweet alleging that True Indology posted an image on his Instagram account was with a fake claim.
It all started when on November 22, True Indology shared an image on Instagram with the caption as “The wonder that WAS Kashmir: A Hindu Sanyasi sitting on the banks of Dal Lake, Srinagar in 1904. He is almost naked in extreme snow. The climate does not seem to bother him. Sanyasis and pandits along the banks of Dal was once a common sight in Kashmir The emphatic word is “WAS”.”
Following this, Pratik Sinha tweeted, "LEFT: TrueIndology cum Truefraudology version of history - Sanyasi in extreme snow, climate does not bother him. RIGHT: Actual picture - no snow. https://gettyimages.in/detail/news-photo/kashmiri-man-sits-cross-legged-surrounded-by-pots-and-cloth-news-photo/3267804… Truefraudology's disinformation campaign continues on Instagram."
This post was retweeted over 550 times. Following this, many other Twitter users started targetting True Indology over this post.
According to Pratik Sinha, the image source was Getty Images, and it did not mention ‘snow’ anywhere in the post. According to Getty Images, the image of a Sadhu sitting at the Lunka Island in Dal Lake in snow was clicked by Geoffrey William Millais over a century ago. The image has been credited to Hulton Archive.
However, contrary to this claim, Sanyasi was indeed sitting on the banks of Dal Lake almost naked in extreme snow. The image was first used in a book titled “Kashmir: It’s New Silk Industry” by Sir Thomas Wardle, and it was published in 1904. In the book, on page 17, the title of the image reads, “Fakir or Holy Man on Lunka Island, Dal lake, sitting in the snow in winter" and the image is printed on page 376. The photograph was clicked by Geoffrey William Millais. You can access freely available book here and it is available on Google Books.
Sinha’s claims were also rebutted by TrueIndology in a long post on Facebook. While providing the source of the image and the caption, True Indology wrote, “The fact is that Pratik Sinha has not read the book and does not know anything about history or climate of Kashmir. The fact that the Sadhu was sitting in extreme snow was attested by the original photographer who took the picture which was published 116 years ago in a book!”
After the truth about Sinha's tweet targetting 'True Indology' came out, he was widely targetted by netizens for passing out 'false information' in the name of fact-checks.
Despite being aware of the fact that Getty Image is a platform to buy and sell images making and that photographer or an agency may make a mistake in the caption while uploading the image, Sinha does not believe the caption provided in the primary source that is the 1904 book “Kashmir: It’s New Silk Industry” by Sir Thomas Wardle. He is rather calling people 'biased' for believing the original photograph and its text stating that the image clicked more than a century ago is not clear to make out whether there's snow or not.
This is not the first time when Pratik Sinha has wrongly targetted True Indology. Earlier, he had cropped a picture of temple ruins on The Hindu's website to falsely claim that True Indology had shared a picture of Neolithic settlement in the BC era as ruins of temples destroyed by Tipu Sultan at Palakkad. We had covered it in detail.
While Pratik Sinha causes others of being biased, his own bias is visible in the work of his fact checking organisation Altnews. Here is a list that shows the bias in the work of Altnews
1. Altnews falsely accused PM Modi of giving a communal speech by cherry-picking one sentence from his speech. You can read our detailed report here.
2. Altnews falsely accused True Indology of lying by cropping out the caption and projecting an image of temple ruins as of Neolithic settlement in the BC era. You can read our detailed report here:
3. Altnews was caught misleading its followers by misquoting BJP and Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prashad. They even fabricated a few lies to falsely prove that BJP is misleading the people on Rafale.
And when we pointed out their mistake, they silently updated their article which is a clear violation of the IFCN code of principals.
4. Last year, Altnews had prematurely declares that no stones were thrown from inside the college during Vidyasagar violence. They updated the article after we pointed out but didn't bother inform their readers about the correction.
5. Altnews prematurely declares that PM Modi had quoted a satirical website. You can read our report here:
Note: You can reach out to us at support[at]facthunt.co.in if you find any issue with our articles.
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