Fact-Check: Babita Phogat has not joined wrestlers’ protest; Vinesh Phogat’s picture goes viral with misleading claim
The claim that Babita Phogat is among the female athletes protesting at Jantar Mantar is false. The female athletes seen in the viral picture with this claim are Vinesh Phogat and Sakshi Malik. The picture of Vinesh Phogat is being shared with the misleading claim that she is Babita Phogat.
- By Vishvas News
- Updated: May 5, 2023
New Delhi (Vishvas News): Amid the ongoing protests by top Indian wrestlers at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar over allegations of sexual harassment against Wrestling Federation of India President Brij Bhushan Singh, a post is going viral on the internet with claims that female athlete Babita Phogat, who criticised the Anti-CAA protest at Shaheen Bagh, has joined the wrestlers’ protest today. A picture of two female athletes is also going viral with this claim, one of which is being claimed to be Babita Phogat.
Vishvas News in its investigation found this claim to be false. Female athlete Babita Phogat is not involved in the protest and the women seen in the viral picture are Vinesh Phogat and Sakshi Malik.
Social media user ‘Sheikh Bashar Ali’ shared the viral pictures (archive link) and wrote, “The Phogat sisters pointed the maximum finger at the Muslim mothers and sisters sitting on dharna in #Shaheenbagh, look where she is sitting today! We eat 500 rupees salad with biryani anyway, for that we don’t have to sit anywhere. Remember, someone’s time is never the same, everyone’s time will come, that’s why raise your voice for your rights, for the one who raises his voice, then someone will support you tomorrow, the button has been pressed well now.”
Several other users have shared these two images with identical and similar claims.
A screenshot of a tweet posted by Babita Phogat’s official Twitter handle is being shared with the viral post of two female athletes, in which they could be seen crying. In the tweet, Babita Phogat criticised the anti-CAA protests at Shaheen Bagh. The viral post is claiming that one of the two crying female athletes is Babita Phogat. However, a reverse image search found a report dated April 24 on the website of Hindustan Times, in which the image used matches the image of the two female athletes shared in the viral Facebook post.
According to the information in the Hindustan Times report, the female athletes seen in the picture are Vinesh Phogat and Sakshi Malik. A report dated April 24 by Financial Express also carried the same photograph and attributed it to the news agency PTI. According to the report, the athletes seen in the picture are Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat and Sakshi Malik. The investigation has made it clear that the photographs shared are of Vinesh Phogat and Sakshi Malik and do not feature Babita Phogat.
Searching social media, we found a tweet by the handle ‘@BabitaPhogat’, in which Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has been targeted. In this tweet, Babita Phogat wrote, “Priyanka Vadra has reached Jantar Mantar with her personal secretary Sandeep Singh to get justice for women wrestlers, but this person himself was accused of molesting women and calling a Dalit woman a woman of two pennies.”
We further checked the veracity of the Twitter handle at the checkblue.org tool and found that it is the official Twitter handle of Babita Phogat. We also found a tweet on her official handle in which she criticised the anti-CAA protest at Shaheen Bagh.
It is clear that the tweet going viral, criticizing the Shaheen Bagh movement, belongs to Babita Phogat but she is not among the athletes sitting on dharna at Jantar Mantar. We also found Vinesh Phogat’s tweet, in which she appealed to Babita Phogat not to blame her performance.
We contacted Shani Sharma, deputy chief reporter of Delhi Dainik Jagran, who covered the wrestlers’ protest, regarding the viral picture. He said, “The female athletes seen in the picture are Sakshi Malik and Vinesh Phogat. Babita Phogat is not involved in this protest”.
The user who shared the viral post with the false claim is followed by around 7,000 people on Facebook.
Notably, Indian Olympic Association chief PT Usha questioned the performance of the athletes protesting at Jantar Mantar. Responding to this, wrestler Sakshi Malik broke down in front of the media persons. The same picture of Sakshi Malik is now going viral with the claim that she is Babita Phogat. The viral claim is trying to project a narrative that those who opposed the anti-CAA protest are now protesting themselves and no one is listening to them.
Conclusion: The claim that Babita Phogat is among the female athletes protesting at Jantar Mantar is false. The female athletes seen in the viral picture with this claim are Vinesh Phogat and Sakshi Malik. The picture of Vinesh Phogat is being shared with the misleading claim that she is Babita Phogat.
- Claim Review : Babita Phogat, who criticised the Anti-CAA protest at Shaheen Bagh, has joined the wrestlers' protest
- Claimed By : Fb user: Sheikh Bashar Ali
- Fact Check : Misleading
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