Dhruv Rathee is an Aam Aadmi Party's supporter and left-leaning youtube blogger who mostly opposes BJP and right-wing through one-sided opinion which he calls facts. He has formed a Facebook group called Dhruv Rathee Squad to mass report profiles who exposes him and write against him or Aam Aadmi Party.
Dhruv Rathee is currently one of the most famous YouTube blogger having more than 8 lakh subscribers on the platform. He has a huge fan following on Twitter and Facebook as well. He has got a fair amount of media coverage in the last 6 months or so. As per his Twitter bio, he is a freelance journalist who does activism for a better world. Pretty impressive.
Recently he formed a Facebook group called "Dhruv Rathee Squad" to fight against Fake News. So we decided to find out the real motive behind this group which we will explain later in this post. First, let's find out who is Dhruv Rathee.
In this post, We will try to avoid any confirmation bias while giving any conclusion and will rely solely on facts available in the public domain.
To his credit, he has accepted that he is an AAP supporter and he welcomes logical BJP and other party supporters to find evidence-based criticism against AAP.
Earlier, in 2013-2014 he used to make promotional youtube videos for AAP and targetted AAP supporters to gain initial traction. He was in almost every Facebook group of AAP and used to share those promotional videos in the groups.
In 2015, after AAP landslide victory in Delhi election, he created a victory song video on YouTube and there is nothing wrong in it. Being an AAP supporter, he has every right to celebrate the victory of AAP.
But the problem started when he deleted his previous videos once he started getting traction on YouTube. Even if he is a neutral journalist, there is no need to delete previous videos which he created as an AAP Volunteer. What is the need to hide his past from his own followers? This question can only be answered by him. So we will leave it to our reader's interpretations.
The credit for some of the screenshots goes to a Twitter users Anti-Pidi who has done a great job in exposing Dhruv Rathee.
He has direct access to AAP leaders. A few months back he hardly had 1 lakh subscribers on YouTube. Then he released a video interview with Delhi's education minister Manish Sisodia and now has more than 8 lakh subscribers. During Karnataka election, he organized talk shows with AAP candidates. Now there is nothing wrong with it. As per Dhruv Rathee, he was invited by AAP candidates to discuss different issues.
We understand this is not sufficient to establish his relationship with the Aam Aadmi Party. So, let's analyze one of his initial videos in which he was defending Arvind Kejriwal for not doing enough against Sheila Dixit. You can watch the video below.
In the video, he has claimed that after becoming CM, Arvind Kejriwal had registered FIR against Sheila Dixit for CWG streetlight scam on 7th Feb 2014 but he had resigned within a few days. After that Delhi's control was in the hand of central government and they didn't take any action in this case. When Kejriwal was re-elected in 2015, ACB re-opened the CNG fitness scam against Sheila Dixit. Next day LG Najeeb Jung appointed a new ACB chief who closed all the cases. And after losing ACB to centre, Kejriwal formed an independent inquiry to investigate the case which was again declared illegal by the home ministry. Rathee thus concluded that Kejriwal couldn't do anything against Sheila Dixit because he didn't have enough powers.
Now let's discuss what he didn't address in his videos. In Feb 2014, FIR was registered in CWG streetlight scam. So after Kejriwal was re-elected what he did in this case? Why he didn't pursue this case? Will Dhruv Rathee answer it?
Moreover, Kejriwal was claiming to have 300 pages proof against Sheila Dixit. Now, if he has proofs, then why does he need investigation?
If you have a powerful case in your hand with all the proofs, you don't need any powers. You just go to court and follow your charges with proof. I think Kejriwal can learn a bit from Subramaniyam Swamy in this regard.
In the video, Mr. Rathee made a narrative in such a way that most of the viewers will think that the same case was re-opened in 2015. But this was not the case. Nobody knows what happened to 300 pages proof against Sheila Dixit and why those proofs don't stand in the court.
Even now, we can't say that he is associated with AAP because a lot of people openly defend the party they support. So, here is another case.
In June 2016, when AAP MLA Dinesh Mohaniya was detained for slapping a 60-year-old man, he tweeted "If Delhi Police starts arresting people for slapping someone, half of Delhi would be in prison". He even termed this as an emergency in Delhi.
If you go through his Twitter profile or Facebook timeline, his posts are always in favour of Aam Aadmi party and will always oppose BJP no matter what. His tweets have been retweeted by many AAP leaders and left-leaning people. Not convinced yet about his relation with AAP, then let me tell Arvind Kejriwal personally responds to his birthday wishes.
Now, let's talk about a Facebook page called "Dhruv Rathee Squad" which claims to fight against Fake News and hate speeches.
Many people have exposed this squad in past. When I got to know about it, I also joined the group and found that the posts in the group were filled with anti-BJP posts. Anyone who raised questions against AAP was removed from the group and was called Sanghi and Andh Bhakt.
FMF, a youtube channel made a video to highlight the mistakes in Dhruv Rathee's videos. Soon somebody sent threatening email to the owner of FMF channel.
You can see all the screenshots on the official Facebook page of FMF. This was just the beginning of the squad. They made 8-9 people admin and all of them started sharing the links of Facebook posts, pages, tweets, twitter profiles, Quora answers and asking the members of the group to mass report them. Well, they claimed that these people were sharing the Fake news or propagating hate. But this is not true at all. They constantly shared and mass reported posts which have an alternate viewpoint.
Anyone who spoke against him anywhere on social media was mass reported by the members of this group. Many quora users were permanently banned just for expressing their opinion against Dhruv Rathee.
There is a question on Quora "Is Dhruv Rathee reliable or not?" They mass reported many answers and got them deleted. Here is a link of one such answer by Vivek Trivedi
Not only answers, but this group mass also reported many questions and got them deleted too.
When the user Vivek Trivedi wrote the answer again for another different question on the same theme, they mass reported again and got it deleted too. After some time they mass reported his profile and got him banned permanently from Quora just because they disagreed with them.
You can read the story of Vivek Trivedi on his blog that he wrote after getting banned from Quora.
Seeing all these things happening, we tried an experiment in the group. We started posting links to our exposes, shared a few episodes of our web series but none of the posts was approved. Once we published the link of our expose of Ram Puniyani "Part 1: Demolishing the false claims and lies of Ram Puniyani about temple destruction by Islamic invaders". As expected it was not approved and was removed immediately from the group. That time I forgot to take the screenshot. So we entered the group again from another profile and again posted the link of our expose of a habitual fake news peddler "Dr Manmohan Singh Fan Club", a page managed by Congress IT Cell " Dr Manmohan Singh Fan Club - A habitual fake news peddler". This time we took the screenshot.
Now, we can understand there may be thousands of post getting shared in the group and it is impossible to approve all but why remove from the group? Just because we tried to expose the lies of people they support?
So if you’re writing an anything based on politics which praises right wing, hindutva and BJP or maligns AAP even BY A BIT! You are not allowed in the group. If they don't like your answer on Quora, they will mass report your answer and will get it deleted.
Apparently, many right-wing profiles are getting mass reported and banned for a few days. Recently Ratan Sharda's profile was locked without any reason.
We can easily sense the hand of Dhruv Rathee's squad behind this as well.
Conclusion: Dhruv Rathee is extremely biased (mostly confirmation bias) and not reliable at all. He presents only one side of the story in his videos and manipulates the viewers by creating a narrative against right wing and BJP.
The purpose of his squad is to close down the voice of anyone who dares to question him.
But, we at Fact Hunt will fight him back. This is just the first part. In the next post, we will expose how exactly he manipulates his viewers by sharing half-truth and presenting his own opinion as facts. The saddest part is that most of the youths are buying his logic.
The second part of this series: Part 2: Dhruv Rathee - a relentless purveyor of misinformation
The third part of this series: Part 3: Lies, misquotation, propaganda: A Fact check of Dhruv Rathee's video on Modi's independence day speech
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