Fact Check: Fake newspaper clip quotes Shah and Modi calling Baniyas thieves

It’s quite common for videos and photos to go viral on social media. But this time, netizens have found a new way to take potshots at political leaders.

An image doing the rounds on Twitter looks like a newspaper article with the headline – “Chori aur Munafakhori Desh ke Baniyo ki Aadat: Amit Shah”.

It claims that during a rally in Rajasthan’s Bundi, BJP president Amit Shah compared the Baniya community to “thieves”. The same article says that the community is in the habit of profiteering. Another report packaged in the main article claims Prime Minister Narendra Modi called traders “thieves” during the time of demonetisation.

Several people took a dig at Shah and shared the post on social media assuming it was true.

Jitu Patwari, the working president of Congress in Madhya Pradesh, shared the post on Twitter but later deleted it. Sanjay Yadav, political adviser to former Bihar deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav, also shared the post on Twitter.

India Today Fact Check found this “newspaper article” to be fake. Neither Shah nor Modi ever called the Baniya community “thieves”.

This viral post, which was shared hundreds of times on Twitter, also claimed the BJP president held the Baniya community responsible for farmers’ distress in the country.

The third report embedded in the main article claims that the government is working on a scheme which will replace local traders with foreign investors and attributes it to Shah.

At a glance, this “newspaper report” looks fictitious in appearance. Unlike other reports in newspapers, the basic format is missing here, which includes byline and dateline.

According to the viral post, Shah made this “Baniya” comment in one of his election rallies in Bundi. Shah did address a rally in Bundi on December 3.

After carefully listening to his whole speech, we could not find any reference to Baniya or traders.

When we contacted Jitu Patwari and asked him for the source of the newspaper article, he could not provide us any clear answer.

We later found that he had deleted his tweet. You can view the archived version here.

India Today also tried to search for this Hindi article by using keyword “Amit Shah Baniya Munafakhori Chori” but could not find any single news report related to this.


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