Palghar lynching: TISS professors caught in midst of fake news

Their pictures were used on a FB post against two activists

April 26, 2020 12:38 am | Updated 02:18 am IST - Mumbai

Noted documentary filmmakers and professors at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Prof. Anjali Monteiro and Prof. K.P Jayasankar, were on Saturday caught in the midst of a fake news post directed against two Palghar-based activists — Pradeep Prabhu and Shiraz Balsara — with regards to the recent lynching, after their photos were used in it.

Post gone viral

While the content of the post was against Mr. Prabhu and Ms. Balsara, the photos used were of the two professors. Prof. Monteiro said they had been intimated about the post by a Facebook friend and were shocked to see their photos. “We reported the post, but Facebook reporting doesn’t give much leeway as you can only report them under certain categories. We reported it thrice under but got a message saying that the photo did not go against the community guidelines,” she said. The post was finally removed around 7.30 p.m. after being online for around seven hours and getting over 200 shares.

It was posted by a Shatrughan Singh Chandel, whose profile picture was that of Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath. The profile had no personal details or the location of the person and had 4,985 ‘friends’ and was followed by 24,818 people.

Though the profile was also taken down along with the original post, versions of the post later surfaced on Twitter and other Facebook profiles with the same photos of Prof. Monteiro and Prof. Jayasankar.

The post targeted Mr. Prabhu, the founder Kashtakari Sanghatana, a prominent organisation working for rights of adivasis in Palghar, and Ms. Balsara, who has also been associated with the organisation until recently. It claimed that the two were trying to get bail for the accused in the lynching case as they were Christian and the duo head a Christian organisation.

‘Not a Christian outfit’

“The post is completely false. Kashtakari Sanghatana has never been a Christian organisation and we have not been involved in trying to get bail for the accused. The village owes allegiance to the Bharatiya Janata Party and even the sarpanch is from the party. The Sanghatna has never worked in the concerned villages,” Ms. Balsara, said. She said both she and her husband, Mr. Prabhu, had not been active in the Sanghatana over the last few years and Mr. Prabhu is completely retired and house bound.

Top News Today

Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.