BJP lost at least 20 constituencies where Modi openly targeted Muslims in campaign speeches – Alt News

The recently concluded seven-phase general elections held over two months saw the BJP carry out a campaign that was unprecedented in terms of the use of anti-Muslim narratives and misinformation. While the election commission came under severe public criticism for failing to act, BJP leaders, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, openly targeted Muslims in speech after speech.

According to a report by The Quint, the BJP and NDA lost nearly 50% of the seats in constituencies where Prime Minister Narendra Modi held rallies. To be more specific, Modi campaigned in 164 constituencies, and the BJP lost 77 of those seats.

Alt News found that among the constituencies where PM Modi made communal speeches targeting the Muslim community, the BJP had lost at least 20. In these places, Modi targeted Muslims either directly or indirectly, using terms like ‘ghuspethiyon’, ‘jinke zyada bachche hote hain’,vote jihad karne waale’, ‘khaas jamaat’, and the Opposition’s ‘vote bank’. In all of these places, he talked about a nexus between the Opposition and the Muslims which he said would harm the majority in some way or the other. On several occasions, he claimed that the Opposition, if voted to power, would overturn the Supreme Court verdict on Ram Temple and put a ‘Babri taala‘ on it. One one occasion he mentioned the Right Wing conspiracy theory ‘Love Jihad’.

Banswara, Rajasthan: BJP lost by 2.47 Lakh votes

In Rajasthan’s Banswara, PM Modi on April 21 delivered one of the most inflammatory speeches of the entire campaign. He referred to Muslims as ‘infiltrators’ and ‘those who produce more children’. He also indulged in fear-mongering by claiming that Congress would confiscate the wealth of non-Muslims and redistribute it among Muslims. Major global media outlets condemned the anti-Muslim pitch in the speech.

Modi said, “When they (the Congress) were in power, they said that Muslims had the first right to the properties of the state. This means that they would collect these properties and give them to the ones who have more kids (insinuating Muslims). They will give it to the ghuspethiyon (infiltrators). Do you want to give away your hard-earned money to the intruders? This is what the Congress manifesto says — the amount of gold owned by our mothers and daughters will be measured, collected and distributed. They will distribute this wealth among those… the Manmohan Singh government had said Muslims had the first right to the properties. These urban naxals will not even spare the mothers and sisters or their Mangalsutra. They will go that far.” Alt News reported on how this speech by the head of the state was a textbook example of hate speech. This same anti-Muslim jibe was later picked up by several other BJP leaders in their speeches.

BJP, however, lost the Banswara seat by a whopping 2.47 Lakh votes to Congress-backed Bharat Adivasi Party candidate Raj Kumar Roat.

Barabanki, Uttar Pradesh: BJP Lost by 2.15 Lakh Votes

During a public meeting in Barabanki, Uttar Pradesh on May 17, Modi reiterated the claims about a Congress-Muslim nexus made in his earlier speeches. He accused Congress of planning to take away reservations for SC/ST/OBCs to introduce a Muslim quota and redistribute the wealth of the majority community among Muslims. He also stated that the Opposition would overturn the Supreme Court verdict on the Ram Mandir and destroy the temple. He praised UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath’s ‘bulldozer justice’ model. Alt News had documented this speech in detail.

Modi said: “If SP or Congress come to power, they will send Ram Lalla back to the tent and will run a bulldozer on the temple. Is this what you want to learn from Yogi ji? Take tuitions from Yogi ji where to use the bulldozer and where not to…” He further adds, “Congress prince (referring to Rahul Gandhi) says that they will do an x-ray of your earnings. This means that they will check what is in your locker, how much land, jewellery, gold, and silver you own, and where your Mangalsutra is, they want to run a ‘loot’! They are saying they will take away what you have and give it to those who don’t have it. It will be given away to those who will do ‘vote jihad’ (alluding to the controversial remarks by Samajwadi Party leader Maria Alam Khan).”

BJP lost the Barabanki seat to Congress’ Tanuj Punia by a margin of 2.15 Lakh.

Barasat, West Bengal: BJP Lost by 1.14 Lakh Votes

On May 28, PM Modi addressed a rally in Barasat, West Bengal, where he reiterated his claims about the Opposition’s nexus with the Muslim community. He stated that the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) cared only for the appeasement of their ‘vote bank’ or those who did ‘vote jihad’, referring to the Muslim community. PM Modi said, “TMC and INDI bloc do not care about your Vikas (advancement), their only priority is appeasement of their ‘vote bank’… In Bengal, OBCs have been duped… TMC has looted the rights of the OBCs which were given to them as per the Constitution by Babasaheb Ambedkar and the country’s parliament to help those who do ‘vote jihad“.

BJP lost the Barasat seat by a 1.14 Lakh margin to TMC’s Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar.

Mathurapur, West Bengal: BJP Lost by 2 Lakh Votes

In his public address at Mathurapur Lok Sabha constituency, West Bengal, on May 29, PM Modi repeated the claims he made in Barasat about the TMC looting the reservations meant for Dalits and backward classes for appeasement. He further used the term ghuspethi (infiltrator) and said the TMC was opposing the CAA because it wanted to accommodate infiltrators in Bengal. Modi said, “Ram Mandir is a place for our faith. But TMC calls it impure… Now TMC is openly attacking the Constitution for appeasement. Our Constitution grants reservations to Dalits and backward classes, but in Bengal, there is a loot over those reservations… Today these infiltrators are snatching the opportunities meant for the youth of Bengal. They are taking up your land and propertiesThe demography near the borders of Bengal has changed significantly. Why did they lie so much about the CAA? Why are they opposing it? But they want to accommodate illegal infiltrators in Bengal“.

BJP candidate Ashok Purkait lost the Mathurapur seat to TMC candidate Bapi Haldar by a 2 Lakh margin.

Jhargram, West Bengal: BJP Lost by 1.74 Lakh Votes

On May 20, PM Modi delivered a speech in Jhargram, West Bengal, where he yet again used the term ‘ghuspethi’ and said that the Congress would give away everyone’s wealth to those who did ‘vote jihad’. Here is the relevant part from his speech:

“Riots have become common in Bengal. There is an effort to erase the identities of Adivasi communities. But TMC is only concerned about its ‘vote bank’. They are accommodating ghuspethiyon (infiltrators) here, near the borders the population of the people of Bengal is reducing… TMC and Congress are trying to make it legal for infiltrators to take up space. Congress is saying they will do an x-ray of everyone’s property and then they will give away your money and land to those who do ‘vote jihad’, their vote bank“.

The BJP lost the Jhargram seat to TMC by a 1.74 Lakh vote margin.

Medinipur, West Bengal: BJP Lost by 27,000 Votes

Speaking at a pre-poll rally at the Medinipur LS constituency in West Bengal on May 19, PM Modi reiterated that due to TMC’s appeasement politics, Bengal’s demography had changed, he also used the term ‘vote jihad’ and ghuspethi. PM Modi said, “These people (referring to TMC) will abuse those who take Ram’s name, won’t allow them to celebrate Ram Navami and will appeal for ‘vote jihad’ against Modi. This is the truth about TMC and INDI gathbandhan. A TMC government that kneels before vote bank politics does not deserve even a single vote from you. TMC’s appeasement has made the demography of Bengal unstable… TMC refers to people from other states as outsiders but they find illegal ghuspethi (infiltrators) to be their own.

BJP candidate Agnimitra Paul lost the Medinipur seat to TMC’s June Maliah. This was an LS constituency held by the BJP. In 2019, BJP’s Dilip Ghosh had won the seat by 89,000 votes.

Howrah, West Bengal: BJP Lost by 1.69 Lakh Votes

On May 12, PM Modi addressed a public meeting in Howrah, West Bengal, where he repeated the claim that Congress would distribute the wealth of non-Muslims to those who did ‘vote jihad’ for the INDIA bloc. He also stated that Congress would take away a chunk of SC, ST and OBC reservations and give it to the Muslim community. Modi said, “TMC and Congress are competing in terms of appeasement. Congress’ shehzade (prince — referring to Rahul Gandhi) wants to make an inquiry about everyone’s wealth.. they will distribute your income and land to those who do ‘vote jihad’ for INDI allianceCongress is also planning to give away the reservations for SC/ST/OBC to Muslims“.

BJP lost the seat to TMC’s Prasun Banerjee by a 1.69 Lakh vote margin.

Hooghly, West Bengal: BJP Lost by 76,000 Votes

Addressing a meeting in Hooghly, West Bengal, on May 12, PM Modi made statements to project that the ruling party in West Bengal TMC and other parties in the INDIA bloc such as Congress were anti-Hindu. PM Modi said, “The world takes inspiration from Ram Krishna Paramhans and Lahiri Mahasaya but parties like TMC and Congress are so stubborn about their appeasement that they do not care about your emotionsThese people are so hungry for votes, so hungry for power; they are even infuriated by the construction of the Ram Temple… They have rejected the Ram Temple too… The party that used to speak of “Maa, Maati, Manush” is now disrespecting Bengal for the sake of vote bank politics and dishonouring its own heritage.”

BJP’s Locket Chatterjee lost the Hooghly seat by 76,000 votes to TMC candidate Rachna Banerjee.

Tonk-Sawai Madhopur, Rajasthan: BJP Lost by 64,000 Votes

In Tonk-Sawai Madhopur, on April 23, Modi claimed that the Congress was planning to give away the SC/ST quota to the Muslim community and repeated his claim that Congress would take away the wealth of non-Muslims and give it away to the Muslim community. This speech was delivered a day after his inflammatory Banswara address created a row in political circles.

Modi stated, “2-3 days back I exposed Congress’ vote bank politics and appeasement politics (referring to his Banswara speech of April 21)… They have mentioned in their manifesto that they will survey your property. They will survey the stree dhan that our mothers and sisters possess, including their mangalsutras. They will do an x-ray of your property and then they will take away all your extra wealth and distribute it… Manmohan Singh ji had given a speech that Muslims have the first right over the country’s resources, I was present there as a CM and this was not a one-off instance, Congress’ intentions have always been in favour of appeasement and ‘vote bank’ politicsWhen Congress and INDI alliance were in power they tried to provide reservations to their khaas jamaat (special groups, referring to the Muslim community) from the reservations meant for Dalits and the backward classes for ‘vote bank’ politics, this is absolutely against the Constitution“.

BJP lost this seat by a 64,000 vote margin to Congress candidate Harish Chandra Meena.

Ghosi, Uttar Pradesh: BJP Lost by 1.62 Lakh Votes

Addressing a crowd in Ghosi, Uttar Pradesh on May 26, Narendra Modi said that the Opposition was trying to make the majority community of the country ‘second-class citizens’. He also repeated his claim that the INDIA bloc would change the Constitution and introduce reservations based on religion. He also claimed that the Opposition was planning to end SC, ST and OBC reservations and give all of it to the Muslims.

PM Modi said, “When everyone in the society is not united then you will be distracted from real issues. Then INDI-waalen will execute what they’ve been conspiring… They will change the Constitution and write on it that reservations will be provided on the basis of religion. Secondly, they will end the reservations given to the SC, ST, OBC and extreme backward classes and lastly, they will give the entirety of the reservations based on religion to the Muslims. Today, SP, Congress and INDI waalon‘s ‘vote bank’ politics have fallen here. They want to make the majority community in the country second-class citizens“.

BJP lost the Ghosi seat to Samajwadi Party’s Rajeev Rai by a 1.62 Lakh vote margin.

Ghazipur, Uttar Pradesh: BJP Lost by 1.24 Lakh Votes

At his Ghazipur address on May 25, PM Modi repeated his claims that the Opposition was planning to take away the reservations for the backward classes. He cited the example of Karnataka where Muslims had been granted OBC status which, he claimed, was snatched from the majority community. The Prime Minister added that in West Bengal all reservations had been granted to the Muslims and infiltrators. He said that SP, Congress and TMC were all together looting the reservations from the SC, ST and OBC communities. Modi also claimed that the Congress was planning to put a lock on the Ram Temple. Relevant parts of his speech can be heard here.

BJP lost the Ghazipur seat to SP candidate Afzal Ansari by a 1.24 Lakh margin.

Basti, Uttar Pradesh: BJP Lost by 1 Lakh Votes

In his public address in Basti LS constituency of Uttar Pradesh on April 22, Narendra Modi repeated his claim that the INDIA bloc would overturn the Supreme Court verdict on Ram Temple and put a ‘Babri lock’ on the temple. He also said that the Opposition would take away reservations for Dalits and backward classes and introduce reservations based on religion to give to the Muslims. The relevant part of PM Modi’s speech can be heard here.

BJP lost the Basti seat to SP’s Ram Prasad Chaudhary by a 1 Lakh margin.

Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh: BJP Lost by 58,000 Votes

Speaking at a rally in Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh on May 21, PM Modi portrayed the Opposition as anti-Hindu. He said, “During SP and Congress regime, everything at Kumbh used to be disorganised. People would die. Do you know why? Because they care more about that ‘vote bank’ than Kumbh. If they are seen doing too much for the Kumbh, their vote bank might take offence… These people have rejected Ram Mandir, they refer to Sanatan as Dengue, Malaria. Can you expect them to properly organize next year’s Kumbh?”.

BJP lost the seat in Allahabad to Congress candidate Ujjwal Raman Singh by a 58,000 vote margin.

Sonipat, Haryana: BJP Lost by 22,000 Votes

In Sonipat, Modi called the INDIA bloc ‘INDI Jamaat’ and reiterated that the Congress manifesto was the same as that of the Muslim League. He said, “Everything Congress does is driven by appeasement. Their entire manifesto mirrors that of the Muslim League. They plan to conduct an x-ray of everyone’s property, checking how much land and jewellery you have, including your Mangalsutra. Any wealth they deem excess will be redistributed to those who engage in ‘vote jihad’“. PM Modi also repeated the claim that Congress would give away reservations belonging to the SC/ST/OBC communities to the Muslims.

BJP lost the Sonipat seat to Congress’ Satpal Brahamchari by close to 22000 votes.

Ambala, Haryana: BJP Lost by 49,000 Votes

At a public meeting in Ambala, Haryana, on May 18, PM Modi repeated the claim that the Congress would take away reservations for the SC/ST/OBC and introduce quota based on religion. The relevant part of his speech can be heard here.

BJP lost the Ambala seat to Congress’ Varun Chaudhry by a 49,000 vote margin.

Jalandhar, Punjab: BJP Lost by 1.75 Lakh Votes

Out of the 13 seats in Punjab, BJP couldn’t secure a single seat. Here, too, Narendra Modi held several public meetings including in Jalandhar where he indulged in his usual communal rhetoric.

In Jalandhar, Modi blamed Congress for the partition of the country, stating, “Congress has never seen Punjab as more than a piece of land. They divided it in 1947 to ensure their family could form the government… Can anyone who believes in Guru Nanak do such a thing?” He further accused Congress of having their own people to write history books that prominently feature their family (referring to the Nehru-Gandhi family) and the Mughals, while neglecting the sacrifices of those from Punjab to avoid upsetting their ‘vote bank.’

These statements aimed at pitting the Sikh community against the Muslims.

The BJP failed to win a single seat in the state. In Jalandhar, Congress candidate Charanjit Singh Channi beat BJP’s Sushil Kumar Rinku by a 1.75 Lakh vote margin.

Dumka, Jharkhand: BJP Lost by 22,500 votes

At Dumka, Modi legitimized the conspiracy theory of ‘Love Jihad‘ and claimed that it had started in Jharkhand. ‘Love Jihad’ is a Right-wing hypothesis which claims that Muslim men trap Hindu women into romantic relationships to convert them to Islam.

Modi also said that the JMM patronised ‘infiltrators’ who were occupying land belonging to the tribal community and that the increase in the population of ‘infiltrators’ posed a threat to tribal women.

PM Modi said: “Jharkhand is now dealing with a huge issue of ghuspethi (infiltrators), especially, the Santhal community is the most affected by this issue. Due to this, in several areas the population of the Adivasi communities is going down and the population of ghuspethi is increasing. They are taking up lands that belong to Adivasis. Our Adivasi daughters have come under the target of ghuspethiyon or not? Their safety has come under danger or not? Their life is in danger or not? Daughters are being killed by being cut into 50 pieces. Some Adivasi daughters are being burned alive, and the tongues of others are being pulled out. Who are these people targeting Adivasi daughters? Why is the JMM government nurturing them? And just now, my colleagues were telling me that the term ‘Love Jihad’ first emerged in Jharkhand. It was coined by the people of Jharkhand.

While BJP won the majority of seats from Jharkhand, the one where Narendra Modi openly made communal statements was not one of them. BJP lost the Dumka seat to JMM candidate Nalin Soren by a 22,500 vote margin.

Patliputra, Bihar: BJP Lost by 85,000 Votes

At a public meeting in Patliputra, Bihar, Modi delivered a speech which was condemned widely. Labelling the Opposition as casteist and communal, he accused them of attempting to take away the reservations provided to SC, ST, and OBC communities to give them to their ‘vote bank’ who engaged in ‘vote jihad.’ He added that if the Opposition wanted, they could become slaves to their ‘vote bank’ and perform mujra for them.

Bihar is another state where the BJP and its allies won the majority of the seats. However, the BJP lost the Patliputra seat to RJD candidate Misha Bharti by 85,000 votes.

Banaskantha, Gujarat: BJP Lost by 30,000 Votes

In Banaskantha of Gujarat, Narendra Modi reiterated that the Congress would take away the wealth of the non-Muslims and distribute it to the Muslim community. He repeated that the Opposition was eyeing the reservations for SC/ST/OBCs and would be giving it to the Muslim community.

While in Banswara, Modi had said that the Congress would take away the Mangalsutra of the Hindu women and give it to the Muslims, here he said that if one had two buffaloes, Congress would take away one, if they were voted to power.

Out of the 26 seats in Gujarat, BJP won 25. Congress’s Geniben Thakor won the Banaskantha seat by a vote margin of 30,406.

Nandurbar, Maharashtra: BJP Lost by 1.59 Lakh Votes

At a public meeting in Nandurbar, Maharashtra, Narendra Modi repeated the claim that the Opposition would take away the rights of the Dalits and reservations and give them to their ‘vote bank’. Nandurbar is a tribal-dominated constituency. Modi also accused Congress of conspiring to “erase the Hindu faith”.

Congress candidate Gowaal Kagada Padavi won the seat by a 1.59 Lakh vote margin.

 

Alt News had documented communal speeches by PM Modi while campaigning in Dhar, Madhya Pradesh and Bhiwani, Haryana. The BJP won these two seats.

Dhar, Madhya Pradesh: BJP Won by 2.18 Lakh Votes

Two weeks after his speech in Banswara, Modi addressed a rally in Dhar, Madhya Pradesh, on May 7. Here, he urged voters to support the BJP, stating they needed 400 seats to prevent Congress from putting a ‘Babri lock’ on the Ayodhya Ram Temple. He accused Congress of being so deep into appeasement politics that they might even claim their ‘vote bank’ had the first right to life.

PM Modi said, “…Modi needs 400 seats so that the Congress does not reimplement Article 370 on Kashmir. Modi needs 400 seats so that the Congress does not put a ‘Babri lock’ on the Ayodhya Ram Temple…” He added, “Congress shall provide a quota based on religion in government contracts. They would also prefer minority communities to others in sports. They will be deciding who will be selected for the cricket team on the basis of religion. I want to ask Congress today, if this was your intention all along why did you break apart the country into three parts in 1947? You should’ve declared the country as Pakistan back in 1947 and removed the existence of India”. Alt News reported that this speech was in a clear violation of the Model Code of Conduct, however, it did not prompt any action from the Election Commission of India.

BJP won all 29 seats in Madhya Pradesh, including Dhar, where its candidate Savitri Thakur won by a 2.18 Lakh vote margin.

Bhiwani-Mahendragarh, Haryana: BJP Won by 41,000 Votes

Just a day after the Election Commission had written to BJP president J P Nadda asking the party’s star campaigners to avoid inciting communal tension, Modi delivered a communally charged speech in Bhiwani-Mahendragarh on May 23. He referred to the INDIA bloc as ‘Indi Jamaat’, aligning with BJP’s narrative of Congress’s Muslim appeasement. Modi claimed Congress would introduce Muslim reservations by taking quotas from SCs, STs, and OBCs. He claimed that Congress would arrest people in Haryana for mentioning the Hindu deity Ram. He also used the term ghuspethiyon in his speech.

Modi said, “Congress and the INDI-waalon have a big vote bank in the country. These people divided the country for their vote bank politics. One Bharat and two Muslim countries. Now the INDI people are claiming that the resources of the country that remains after the partition should also go to the Muslims. These people will snatch the reservation constitutionally meant for the SCs, STs, OBCs and give it to the ones who do Vote Jihad.” He adds, “In Bengal too, the conspiracy of the INDI jamaat against SC, ST, and OBC, and their anti-reservation mentality, has been exposed. Overnight, they gave OBC certificates to Muslims. The reservations that OBCs deserve were distributed among Muslims and ghuspethiyon.

BJP candidate Dharambir Singh won the seat in Bhiwani-Mahendragarh by a 41,510 vote margin.

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Sofia Firdous victory rally in Cuttack: Slogans in name of ‘Sofia Didi’, ‘Moquim Bhai’ peddled as ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ – Alt News

A 1-minute clip went viral on social media after Congress’s Sofia Firdous had created history by becoming Odisha’s first female Muslim MLA. Thirty-two-year-old Sofia won the Barabati-Cuttack assembly seat by a margin of 8001 votes.

In the video, some children can be seen holding a banner and shouting slogans alongside other men. It is being claimed that the video shows the people in the rally raising ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ slogans and even making children say it.

An X user named Suryakant Dash (Modi ka Parivar) (@SuryakantDash13), who as per his bio is a BJP functionary, shared the clip on June 9 with a caption in Odia that can be translated as: “Just listen, these small children are saying: We made victorious Barabati Cuttack MLA Ms Sofia Firdous Zindabad, Pakistan Zindabad *(If we say anything, the so-called ‘brotherhood’ of Cuttack will be in danger)* Ward No. 13 Mehndipur Kaligali #Cuttack” (Archive)

X page Kalinga Rights Forum (@KalingaForum) also posted the same video on June 9 with the caption: “Filed Complaint with @NCPCR_ @KanoongoPriyank against Organisers of @INCIndia Cuttack MLA @sofiafirdous1’s Rally in Ward no. 13 Mehendipur Kaligali, Cuttack, Odisha in which Minor Kids are radicalised & Forced to raise ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ Slogan”.

Commenting under the original tweet, the page further mentioned that the “Hindus of Cuttack” had filed an FIR against the alleged act.

Several other users also shared the same video on X claiming that ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ slogans were raised at the rally.

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Alt News also received requests on WhatsApp tipline to verify the claim.

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Fact Check

We noticed that several users had commented under @KalingaForum’s tweet saying that no ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ slogans were raised at the rally. Instead, the slogans raised were — ‘Moquim Bhai Zindabad’ and ‘Sofia Didi Zindabad’.

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Congress leader and ex-MLA Mohammed Moquim is the father of Sofia Firdous.

For clarity, we slowed down the audio of the viral clip. In the slowed-down version, one can clearly hear the chants of ‘Sofia Didi Zindabad.’ The second chant is not entirely clear, but ‘-quim Bhai Zindabad’ can be heard which suggests that the crowd was chanting ‘Moquim Bhai Zindabad’. In the video, one can also see the banner carried by the children having images of Sofia Firdous and her father, Mohammed Moquim.

We also reached out to Sofia Firdous who rubbished the claims and said, “This is a Hindu-dominated area, with 90% of the population being Hindu. My father’s name is Moquim, and they have misinterpreted ‘Moquim bhai’ to sound like ‘Pakistan’. There are a few more videos that have been edited to deliberately add the phrase ‘Pakistan Zindabad’”.

The Congress MLA also posted a video on her official X page addressing the claims and she mentioned in the caption: “On June 6th, during the victory celebration rally in Cuttack, a large number of people from various neighbourhoods joined it voluntarily and blessed me.

From Ward No. 13, too, a rally was organized by the public. Unfortunately, the original video of this rally, where slogans like “Moquim Bhai Zindabad, Sofia Didi Zindabad” were chanted, has been misrepresented and edited by some antisocial elements to create a controversy. This edited video has been made viral to defame me and the city of Cuttack.

Cuttack is a city of brotherhood and we will never tolerate any malicious attempt to destroy this harmony. I strongly condemn this act and urge the administration to investigate the matter immediately and bring the culprits to justice with stringent action against them.”

Sofia also shared with us a video statement from the organisers of the rally who, too, clarified that ‘Moquim Bhai Zindabad’ and ‘Sofia Didi Zindabad’ slogans were raised.

[Translation: “I am a resident of Ward No. 13. My name is B David. Now a video is going viral which has hurt us a lot. We organised the programme to celebrate Sofia’s win, there were children giving slogans Moqim Bhai Zindabad, Sofia didi Zindabad and Congress Zindabad. Some hateful people in society are giving it in a false angle. There is no truth in them. Do not believe in it. Thank you.

My name is Ramzan Ali. On the 4th we celebrated with a victory show. Some of our friends gathered with drums for the programme. Children joined us on hearing the drums. They gave the slogans of Moqim Bhai Zindabad and Sofia didi Zindabad. Some intolerant people are taking it in the wrong direction. No such thing has happened. Hindus, Muslims and all people of Cuttack city came together. No such slogans were raised which would hurt the sentiments of the people of Cuttack. If you listen carefully to the video, step by step 1,2,3, you will hear little Moqim Bhai Zindabad, Sofia didi Zindabad, haat chinha (the hand symbol) Zindabad. No other slogan has been raised that would hurt Cuttack residents. Some people are taking it in the wrong direction. It’s hateful politics. We strongly condemn this.

Namaskar. I am Sanjib Das from the Ward (illegible). We were celebrating Sofia Firdous’ win. Some videos have been viral about this. But no such incident has happened.

I am Sheela Saha. I was present there. Children joined the celebration. Their slogans were Moqim Bhai Zindabad Sofia didi Zindabad and the Haat Chinha (the hand symbol) Zindabad. No other slogans were raised. Some antisocial elements are spreading the wrong message. We strongly condemn it.”]

Alt News reached out to Cuttack deputy commissioner Prakash Raj, who told us that the police were checking the authenticity of the video and it had been sent to a forensic lab.

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Q&A on Biden’s Border Order – FactCheck.org

Este artículo estará disponible en español en El Tiempo Latino.

On June 4, President Joe Biden announced new measures to restrict asylum eligibility for those apprehended while trying to enter the U.S. illegally across the southern border.

As we’ve reported, apprehensions of those crossing illegally have gone up significantly during his presidency. Behind the increase is a spike in migrants seeking asylum. While asylum application figures aren’t broken down by how immigrants enter the country, the overall statistics show nearly 89,000 asylum applications in the U.S. in fiscal 2021; in fiscal 2023, the figure was nearly 479,000.

Less than 15% of those seeking asylum were ultimately granted it in fiscal years 2022 and 2023, according to Justice Department statistics. But all of the applications have created a growing backlog of cases, which can take several years to get to court.

Biden issued a proclamation to implement steps to decrease such crossings and ease the load of processing asylum applications. While proclamations are often ceremonial declarations, this one contained specific changes to immigration procedures that are destined to be challenged in court.

Here, we answer several questions about Biden’s action.

What’s in Biden’s border proclamation?

Biden’s order seeks to reduce the flow of people trying to cross the border illegally by suspending the entry of certain migrants and steering them toward a legal means of entry.

The order, as the Department of Homeland Security explains in a June 4 fact sheet, “generally restricts asylum eligibility” when the number of people apprehended crossing the southern border illegally reaches a daily average of 2,500 encounters or more for seven straight days. For context, apprehensions averaged nearly 4,300 a day in April, according to the most recent U.S. Customs and Border Protection data.

Some — but not all — of those who are apprehended during this period of high border encounters will be denied asylum eligibility and “promptly removed,” the DHS fact sheet says.

The DHS spells out those who are exempt from the policy: Lawful permanent residents, unaccompanied children, victims of “a severe form of trafficking,” “noncitizens with a valid visa or other lawful permission to enter the United States,” and noncitizens who enter the U.S. at a legal port of entry using a DHS-approved process, such as CBP One — an app that in January 2023 began accepting appointments for a limited number of migrants who are in Mexico and want to request asylum or parole.

There is also a broader exemption for people who “express a fear of return to their country or country of removal, a fear of persecution or torture, or an intention to apply for asylum” if they “establish a reasonable probability of persecution or torture in the country of removal.”

Currently, Border Patrol agents ask those apprehended at the border if they have a fear of returning to their home countries and want to apply for asylum, Colleen Putzel-Kavanaugh, an associate policy analyst with the Migration Policy Institute’s U.S. Immigration Policy Program, told us in a phone interview. But CBP will not ask such questions and those apprehended must affirmatively state that they wish to apply for asylum before they are referred to an asylum officer, she said. It’s known as the “shout test,” she added.

Those who are removed when this new policy is in effect will be barred from entering the U.S. for five years and may be subject to criminal prosecution.

The restrictions will be lifted 14 calendar days after the daily average of people apprehended crossing the border illegally drops to 1,500 encounters or less for seven consecutive days. The daily monthly average hasn’t been that low since July 2020.

What reason did Biden give for acting?

In his proclamation, Biden cited a need to “address the historic levels of migration and more efficiently process migrants arriving at the southern border given current resource levels.” He called out Congress for not passing immigration legislation, including a bipartisan Senate deal that was unveiled in February but failed to advance.

“Our broken immigration system is directly contributing to the historic migration we are seeing throughout the Western Hemisphere, exacerbated by poor economic conditions, natural disasters, and general insecurity, and this fact, combined with inadequate resources to keep pace, has once again severely strained our capacity at the border,” Biden’s proclamation said. “The result is a vicious cycle in which our United States Border Patrol facilities constantly risk overcrowding, our detention system has regularly been at capacity, and our asylum system remains backlogged and cannot deliver timely decisions, all of which spurs more people to make the dangerous journey north to the United States.”

The immigration court backlog was nearly 3.6 million cases as of April, according to figures compiled by Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, a nonpartisan research center at Syracuse University.

Biden criticized Congress, saying there had been a “decades-long failure … to address the problem through systemic reform and adequate funding” and specifically cited “Congress’s failure to pass the bipartisan legislative proposal.” As a result, he said, “I must exercise my executive authorities to meet the moment.”

How many people are crossing the border illegally now?

As of April, there had been 531,208 encounters of people who illegally crossed the southern border in 2024, according to the most recent figures published by CBP. That is an average of 132,802 encounters a month, or about 4,390 encounters a day.

Last month, CBS News reported that during the first three weeks of May, apprehensions by U.S. Border Patrol agents were down to 3,700 a day, based on internal government data. Complete figures for the month should be publicly available later in June.

The number of encounters recorded by the Border Patrol through the first four months of this year already was lower than in the same periods under Biden in 2022 and 2023, when there were 721,732 and 607,627 apprehensions of illegal border crossers, respectively. Those totals do not necessarily equal the number of people who illegally entered because some people may have been encountered more than once due to repeat attempts to enter the country.

What impact will the order have on illegal crossings?

It’s unclear how effective the order will be. Putzel-Kavanaugh, of the Migration Policy Institute, is skeptical that the policy — which DHS called temporary — will be lifted any time soon.

“Right now, apprehensions are around 4,000 per day – so to get to 1,500 would mean apprehensions need to be cut by more than half,” she said. “l can’t imagine that would happen any time soon.”

In a June 5 analysis of the new policy, the American Immigration Council said it’s “highly unlikely that the current emergency will be lifted in the near future,” citing statistics that show “monthly average border crossings have exceeded 1,500 in every month” but one in five of the last six fiscal years.

Putzel-Kavanaugh does, however, expect that initially there will be some reduction in illegal border crossings.

“Migrants who are either deciding to travel [to the U.S.] or are currently in Mexico between the [legal] ports [of entry] … are likely to pause and wait and see what the impacts will be on the ground,” she said.

She also said they may try to choose a legal way to enter — which is what the administration wants.

“The idea is to encourage people to use the lawful pathways,” she said. “We could see an increase in CBP One. The effect of that could be that people wait longer for appointments.”

As we have written before, DHS describes CBP One as a “safer, humane, and more orderly” way of processing migrants. Those with CBP One appointments are screened and could be subject to expedited removal. But it currently takes weeks or months to get an appointment, and increasing the number of appointments will add to the delays, Putzel-Kavanaugh said.

Appointments are capped at 1,450 per day — which is 529,250 a year. For calendar year 2023, 413,300 people scheduled such appointments, CBP says.

“Those who seek to come to the United States legally, for example, by making an appointment and coming to a port of entry, asylum will still be available to them,” Biden said when announcing his proclamation in a press conference on June 4. “But if an individual chooses not to use our legal pathways, if they choose to come without permission and against the law, they’ll be restricted from receiving asylum and staying in the United States.”

How will migrants be ‘promptly removed’?

At a June 4 background briefing for reporters, a senior administration official said that at times of high border crossings “individuals who do not manifest a fear will be immediately removable, and we anticipate that we will be removing those individuals in a matter of days, if not hours.”

But experts are skeptical that the administration has the resources to carry out the job.

“The new regulation presumes that the government will have the capacity to subject everyone to expedited removal,” the American Immigration Council’s analysis said. “This would require the government to not only have enough asylum officers to screen everyone who requests an interview through a ‘shout test’ and conduct fear interviews that (because they require more from the respondent) may take longer than existing interviews do, but also have the detention beds to hold them during this process and then enough deportation flights to return them to their home countries.”

Also, it isn’t easy to remove migrants who have traveled from countries other than Mexico and those in Central America, Putzel-Kavanaugh said. “Trying to organize removals for people all over the world is an incredibly time-consuming task,” she said, adding that some countries aren’t willing to accept the migrants and other countries don’t have the resources to do it well or quickly.

On May 16, the DHS and the Department of Justice announced what they called a Recent Arrivals Docket, or RA Docket, process. The system, which is now in place in five major cities, seeks “to accelerate asylum proceedings” for single adults “so that individuals who do not qualify for relief can be removed more quickly and those who do qualify can achieve protection sooner,” Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said.

The goal is to make asylum decisions in 180 days, instead of years, the joint announcement said.

Putzel-Kavanaugh said it is too soon to know how well the RA Docket process will work, but she believes the administration’s move toward such expedited removal processes will make it difficult for migrants to receive due process. “It raises questions about people being able to access an attorney, get documents together to prove their case – all of the due process questions.”

What impact will it have on those seeking asylum?

The process for migrants to show that they are eligible for asylum during the initial screening process will be more difficult during periods of high border encounters. It is the second time in two years that the administration has tightened the rules, the American Immigration Council said in its analysis.

American Immigration Council, June 5: Before 2023, the standard for passing a screening interview for asylum was demonstrating “credible fear” of persecution—defined as a “significant possibility” (at least a 10 percent chance) that their asylum claim would prevail. Under the Circumvention of Lawful Pathways rule enacted in May 2023, most people who cross between ports of entry and are screened by an asylum officer are subjected to a higher standard known as “reasonable possibility.”

Under the new regulation, whenever the emergency suspension of entry is in effect, this standard is replaced with a completely new standard called “reasonable probability”—which the regulation defines as “substantially higher” than reasonable possibility, and “somewhat lower” than a “more likely than not” standard.

Those who are deemed ineligible for asylum can still remain in the U.S. under international protections — specifically under the Convention Against Torture and withholding of removal, which is a form of relief for migrants who fear persecution, as explained by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

However, the Biden administration has also tightened those standards, the senior official said in the June 4 press briefing.

“I think individuals who do manifest a fear and are ineligible for asylum as a result of the rules measures will be screened for our international obligations under withholding of removal and the Convention Against Torture at a ‘reasonable probability’ standard, which will be a substantially higher standard than the ‘significant possibility’ standard that is being used today, while still somewhat below the ultimate merits standard of ‘more likely than not,’” the senior official said.

“I think the bottom line is that the standard will be significantly higher,” the official added. “And so, we do anticipate that fewer individuals will be screened in as a result.”

Those who will be unaffected by the new rules include children who illegally enter the U.S. without a parent, adult family member or guardian. But relatively few border crossers are unaccompanied children. In fiscal year 2023, they made up only 5.3% of border encounters, according to CBP.

Human trafficking victims, who are also exempt from the new rules and eligible for a so-called T visa, make up an even smaller number.

“In FY 2023, USCIS received its highest number of T visa applications (8,598) in a single year and approved the highest number of T visa applications in a single year (2,181),” USCIS said in an April report to Congress. In addition, 1,495 eligible family members of trafficking victims were also granted T visas.

Biden primarily relies on section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Section 212(f) of the INA reads: “[W]henever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.”

An “alien” under U.S. code is anyone who isn’t a citizen or national of the U.S.

Biden’s proclamation says that “absent the measures set forth in this proclamation, the entry into the United States of persons described” in the proclamation “would be detrimental to the interests of the United States.”

The proclamation also cites section 215(a) of the INA, which concerns travel restrictions, and part of the U.S. code that gives the president authority to delegate functions to agency heads. Section 215(a) of the INA says, in part, that it’s unlawful, unless the president orders otherwise, “for any alien to depart from or enter or attempt to depart from or enter the United States except under such reasonable rules, regulations, and orders, and subject to such limitations and exceptions as the President may prescribe.”

Will it be challenged in court?

Yes. The American Civil Liberties Union has already said it will challenge Biden’s executive action in court. “It was illegal when Trump did it, and it is no less illegal now,” Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, said in a press release.

The ACLU and other groups filed suit over an asylum ban instituted by former President Donald Trump’s administration, and the courts blocked Trump’s regulations from taking effect. The ACLU says that ban “took the same approach” as Biden’s action — invoking section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. A senior Biden administration official, however, told reporters that there are “humanitarian exceptions” and “important exceptions for individuals entering through lawful pathways” in Biden’s proclamation.

As we’ve explained before, Trump issued a proclamation in November 2018 barring the entry of migrants unless they entered at ports of entry. At the same time, the administration issued regulations making those who entered the U.S. illegally between ports of entry ineligible for asylum.

A federal District Court judge in California halted Trump’s effort; the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit and the Supreme Court both denied the Trump administration’s motions to stop the District Court’s ruling. The appeals court ultimately affirmed the lower court’s order in February 2020.

“The President does not have the authority to close the border under 212(f),” Denise Gilman, co-director of the Immigration Clinic and law professor at the University of Texas at Austin, told us via email when we wrote about this issue in February. 

Other provisions in the Immigration and Nationality Act “make very clear that all persons arriving at the border or entering the United States, without regard to status, must be processed for asylum if they indicate a fear of return to their home countries,” Gilman said. “These provisions cannot simply be trumped by 212(f). Under current law, they must be given effect and asylum seekers must be able to present their claims.”

When the bipartisan group of senators released the text of an immigration overhaul bill in February, Trump and other Republicans claimed then that Biden had “the right” to shut down the border, without legislation from Congress. But the claim was dubious, given Trump’s attempt and legal failure to do so.

Now, Biden is trying to implement a version of a border shutdown, with “exceptions” that the administration expects will allow the order to hold up in court.

It’s unclear if that will happen. In a report on Biden’s actions, the American Immigration Council said that whether the 212(f) presidential authority “may be used to address purely domestic policy concerns remains an unsettled area of law.”

“For more than 40 years, U.S. law has been clear: all people physically present or arriving in the United States may seek asylum. No president can erase that law from the books with the stroke of a pen,” Jeremy Robbins, executive director of the American Immigration Council, said in a June 5 press release that noted the “legal uncertainty” around this issue.

How does this compare with the bipartisan plan that Biden supported?

Biden’s action is similar to the border authority provisions of the bipartisan Senate plan that failed in Congress — but differs on the specifics.

The plan, which was unveiled in early February as part of a foreign aid bill, stated that the Department of Homeland Security secretary would automatically activate temporary border emergency authority to prohibit entry of migrants between ports of entry, except for unaccompanied children, if there is an average of 5,000 or more migrant encounters a day over seven consecutive days — or if there are 8,500 or more such encounters on any single day, as we have reported before.

The Homeland Security secretary also would have “discretionary activation” authority if there is an average of 4,000 or more encounters over seven consecutive days. The bill included an exception for migrants who said they had a fear of persecution if returned to their countries, if they demonstrated a “reasonable possibility” of such during an interview with an asylum officer.

As we’ve explained, Biden’s proclamation sets a lower threshold for activating its restrictions on asylum eligibility — a daily average of 2,500 encounters or more for seven straight days.

A major difference between Biden’s proclamation and the Senate bill is that the legislation appropriated money. The bill included funding for more border barriers, expanded detention facilities, and more personnel, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Border Patrol agents, asylum officers, and immigration judges.

But getting legislation through Congress is much tougher than issuing a proclamation. The Senate plan faced significant opposition from former President Donald Trump and other Republican leaders. On Feb. 7, the bill failed after all but four Republicans and a few Democrats opposed it, and it failed again in May, when Democrats tried to advance it on a procedural vote.  

What’s the reaction of Republicans? Democrats?

Several Republicans, including Trump, have said Biden’s proclamation doesn’t do enough.

On social media, Trump posted a meme, which appears to have been left over from his criticism of the Senate immigration plan, wrongly claiming that Biden’s action “allows at least 5,000 illegal entries per day.” It doesn’t, and neither did the Senate legislation.

As one of the architects of the bill, Republican Sen. James Lankford, said of the measure in February, “It’s not that the first 5,000 [migrants encountered at the border] are released, that’s ridiculous. The first 5,000 we detain, we screen and then we deport. … If we get above 5,000, we just detain and deport.”

Biden’s proclamation set a threshold of 2,500 average encounters. So Trump’s meme is both wrong and outdated.

In a video, also posted on social media, Trump said Biden’s order was “weak,” and claimed: “All he had to do is say, ‘Close the border.’ That’s the power of the presidency.” But, again, Trump tried to shut down the border and was blocked by the courts. (For more on that, see the section above on whether Biden’s proclamation will be challenged in court.)

Trump also wrongly said that “up to 20 million people” had been allowed in under Biden. There’s no evidence for such a figure. We found that from February 2021 through October 2023, 2.5 million people encountered at the southern border had been released into the U.S. with notices to appear in immigration court or report to Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the future, or other classifications, such as parole. That’s according to DHS statistics. There were also an estimated 1.6 million so-called “gotaways,” meaning people who crossed the border by evading the authorities.

Democrats were divided over the president’s plan.

Rep. Pete Aguilar, the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, told reporters that Biden should “secure our border while opening up more legal pathways” and expressed concern that the proclamation “is just the enforcement only side of the strategy.”

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, was even more critical of the order, saying in a statement that it was “extremely disappointing” and a “dangerous step in the wrong direction.”

“While there are some differences from Trump’s actions, the reality is that this utilizes the same failed enforcement-only approach, penalizes asylum seekers, and furthers a false narrative that these actions will ‘fix’ the border,” she said.

Biden’s proposal received a warmer reception from House members in the New Democrat Coalition, who issued a joint statement saying they were “encouraged” by the order, which they called a “commonsense action to restore order at the southern border.”

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, in remarks on the Senate floor, said that “legislation would have been the more effective way to go,” but added that Biden was “left with little choice but to act on his own” because of Republican inaction.


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Antarctic Ice Loss Is Significant, Contrary to Claims – FactCheck.org

SciCheck Digest

Antarctica is losing ice mass to the ocean, contributing to global sea level rise. But a popular video misrepresented work focused on Antarctic ice shelves — which float in the sea at the edges of the continent — to incorrectly suggest that “it is unclear if Antarctica is losing any ice on balance.”


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The Antarctic ice sheet is a vast mass of ice, accumulated over millennia via snowfall, that sits atop bedrock, covering nearly all of Antarctica. As the ice spreads outward and meets the ocean, some of it begins to float. These floating ice platforms, which surround about three-quarters of Antarctica, are called ice shelves.

Antarctic land ice loss into the ocean is an increasingly important contributor to global sea level rise. In contrast, ice shelf loss doesn’t directly cause sea level rise, as the ice is already floating in the ocean and displacing water. However, ice shelf changes can contribute to land ice loss, as ice shelves in some areas buttress land ice and slow its descent into the ocean.

A popular video from the Heartland Institute — which has a long history of casting doubt on climate science — minimized the significance of Antarctic ice loss and then questioned whether it’s happening at all. “The truth is, it is unclear if Antarctica is losing any ice on balance or if it’s currently experiencing a net gain,” the video’s narrator inaccurately said, citing two scientific papers.

“The statement is false,” Chad Greene, a glaciologist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, told us in an email. “Antarctica has been losing sea ice, grounded ice, and floating ice shelf mass over the past few decades. Satellite analysis from NASA groups show trends of ice loss, and the same trends have been reported by independent research groups from around the world.”

We reached out to the Heartland Institute with questions about the video but have not gotten a reply. The video was originally posted on Facebook and YouTube but is no longer available on Facebook.

The first paper mentioned in the video to back up the claim is a 2015 study by NASA researchers. They found that from 1992 to 2001 and 2003 to 2008, Antarctica gained ice mass. 

But other studies disagree with the finding that Antarctica was gaining ice, and a NASA press release about the study now contains a message saying, “The findings reported here conflict with over a decade of other measurements, including previous NASA studies.”

“[M]ore recent work shows clearly that on balance Antarctica is losing mass,” Jonathan Kingslake, who studies ice sheet evolution at Columbia Climate School’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, told us in an email. 

According to measurements from NASA satellites, since 2002 Antarctica has been losing an average of 140 billion metric tons of ice mass per year.

An ice shelf at the edge of the Antarctic Peninsula. Photo by Daniel / stock.adobe.com

The Heartland Institute video went on to incorrectly state that a 2023 paper looking at data from 2009 to 2019 confirmed the 2015 NASA findings. However, that paper looked at Antarctic ice shelf area — the floating ice at the edges of the continent, as we explained — and not ice sheet mass overall. Saying that the 2023 paper confirmed the earlier NASA findings “is totally misleading,” Kingslake said.

Additionally, data from a longer time frame does show loss of Antarctic ice shelf area, Greene said.

The Sixth Assessment Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — the latest report from this United Nations body — found that both the Greenland and the Antarctic ice sheets have been “losing mass since at least 1990, with the highest loss rate during 2010–2019” — a statement made with “high confidence.” And the ice sheet mass loss is expected to continue.

Antarctic Ice Loss Is Consequential

Earlier in the Heartland Institute video, the narrator did acknowledge Antarctic ice loss but minimized its importance.

“The media claims that Antarctica is losing ice six or more times faster than it was a few decades ago,” the video said. “But Antarctica was barely losing ice back then and it still is barely losing ice compared to its overall ice mass. Some satellite measurements estimate that the total ice loss each year from Antarctica is 3/10,000 of 1% of the continent’s ice mass. That’s not much.”

Media outlets have reported, based on various studies, that the Antarctic ice sheet as of the 2010s was melting six times faster than in the 1980s, or that the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets combined were losing ice six times faster in the 2010s than in the 1990s.

It’s correct that Antarctica “is barely losing ice compared to its overall ice mass,” as the video said, given that Antarctica’s total ice mass is very large, Helen Amanda Fricker, a professor at UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography, told us in a written response to our questions. But “I would turn this around and say that even a small % of a large number is not inconsequential,” she said. The Antarctic ice sheet contains enough ice — if it all melted — to raise sea level by 57 meters, or 187 feet, she said.

Oceanographer Laurence Padman, president and senior scientist at Earth and Space Research, a nonprofit research institute, told us that he couldn’t argue with the fraction of ice lost given in the video, based on rough calculations and given variation and uncertainties in annual ice loss. But “the important number is the sea level rise, not the fraction of the Antarctic ice sheet that is lost,” he said in a written response to our questions.

As of 2018, the global average sea level had risen by 7 to 15 centimeters (almost 3 to 6 inches) since 1971, according to the latest IPCC report, and was projected to rise by 10 to 25 centimeters (about 4 to 10 inches) more by 2050, even if greenhouse gas emissions are reduced. Melting of the Antarctic ice sheet caused 7% of sea level rise between 1971 and 2018, but its contribution to sea level rise has increased and will continue to increase.

Since 2016, the Antarctic ice sheet has been responsible for 14% of sea level rise, according to the IPCC report. In a low-emissions scenario, the Antarctic ice sheet could contribute to more than 20% of sea level rise by 2100, according to a graphic in the report’s FAQ section.

Lizz Ultee, a glaciologist at Middlebury College, explained that sea level rise is driven by two main processes: ocean water expansion as it gets warmer and melting of ice into the ocean. 

Mountain glaciers melt more quickly due to warming temperatures than ice sheets because mountain glaciers are smaller, Ultee explained. But the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets are playing an increasing role in sea level rise.

Currently, Greenland, which has a smaller ice sheet than Antarctica, is losing ice mass at a faster rate, but in the long term, Antarctica “has the most potential to contribute to very large sea level changes,” Ultee said. 

Antarctic ice sheet loss will probably lead to up to about 0.3 meters, or nearly 1 foot, of sea level rise by 2100, she said, and total sea level rise could be about half a meter to a meter (1.6 to 3.3 feet) by that time. Even if humans were to stop contributing to climate change by 2100, she said, Antarctica would continue to lose ice mass and contribute to sea level rise for centuries.

About a meter of sea level rise in 2100 would flood the homes of about 4 million people in the U.S., Ultee said, an estimate that doesn’t include people who would be at risk from higher storm surges or more frequent tidal flooding, or who would be cut off from essential services.

The Eastern Gulf of Mexico — from the Mississippi Delta to Florida — has already experienced some of the fastest rates of local sea level rise in the U.S., according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The Important Role of Ice Shelves

As we’ve said, the Heartland Institute video also misrepresented data on ice shelves, incorrectly claiming a 2023 paper confirmed that the Antarctic ice sheet is gaining mass.

The 2023 paper, published in the Cryosphere, used satellite data to analyze the area of Antarctic ice shelves between 2009 and 2019, finding that 16 ice shelves grew in area and 18 got smaller. This translated to a net gain of 5,305 square kilometers in total ice shelf area, representing an increase of 0.4%. 

But “this paper is about Antarctic ice shelves, which are only the floating portions of the ice in Antarctica,” Ultee said. Ice shelves are made up of ice that has flowed from the continent outward to the ocean and is floating. (Sea ice, which forms seasonally from the ocean and also floats, is distinct from ice shelves.)

Antarctic ice shelves, in white, are seen at the edge of the continent, which is largely covered in the ice sheet (grey). Credit: Agnieszka Gautier, National Snow and Ice Data Center

The work “does not support the assertion that the Antarctic ice sheet is not losing mass,” Ultee said.

Padman also said that the Cryosphere paper looked at one specific time period that doesn’t represent the full history of Antarctic ice shelf loss. Prior work, published in Nature in 2022, showed that Antarctic ice shelves lost 35,000 square kilometers of area between 1997 and 2004. The Cryosphere paper showed the ice shelves regaining “only about 15% of the earlier loss,” he said.

Greene, the NASA scientist, co-authored the Nature paper. In that study, “we used a longer, 24 year baseline and found overwhelming loss of ice shelf area since 1997,” he said. “We then looked at the calving history of the biggest ice shelves and found that they are all on track for major calving events in the next 10 or 15 years … meaning Antarctica as a whole is losing ice shelf mass overall.” (Ice shelf calving occurs when chunks of ice break off into the ocean.)

Additionally, ice shelf loss in specific areas is significant and indirectly influences sea level rise, experts told us.

“Ice shelves don’t directly contribute to sea level rise when they melt but rather, they act like buttresses to glaciers, keeping the ice from simply sliding into the ocean,” Greene said.

Padman added that “some areas of ice shelves affect ‘buttressing’ of grounded ice, while other areas don’t.” The ice shelves shown to be losing ice in the Cryosphere paper — many in West Antarctica — tend to be more important for buttressing the ice sheet than the ice shelves that are gaining ice.

“Even if East Antarctic ice shelves are gaining area and the West Antarctic is losing area, we still really care about the West Antarctic ice shelf area,” Ultee said.


Editor’s note: SciCheck’s articles providing accurate health information and correcting health misinformation are made possible by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The foundation has no control over FactCheck.org’s editorial decisions, and the views expressed in our articles do not necessarily reflect the views of the foundation.

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Padman, Laurie et al. “Confused about ice shelf decay and sea ice increase?” Scripps Glaciology Group website. Accessed 5 June 2024.

Is an East Antarctic Melt Likely?” National Snow and Ice Data Center. Updated 17 Feb 2022.

Andreasen, Julia R. et al. “Change in Antarctic Ice Shelf Area from 2009 to 2019.” The Cryosphere. 16 May 2023.

Fox-Kemper, B. et al. “2021: Ocean, Cryosphere and Sea Level Change.” Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, edited by Masson-Delmotte, V. et al. Cambridge University Press, pp. 1211–1362.

Otosaka, Inès N. et al. “Mass Balance of the Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets from 1992 to 2020.” Earth System Science Data. 20 Apr 2023.

Regional fact sheet – Polar Regions.” Sixth Assessment Report: Working Group I – The Physical Science Basis. Accessed 6 Jun 2024.

Hanna, Edward et al. “Short- and Long-Term Variability of the Antarctic and Greenland Ice Sheets.” Nature Reviews Earth & Environment. 8 Feb 2024.

The Heartland Institute.” DeSmog Climate Disinformation Database. Accessed 6 Jun 2024.

The Heartland Institute (@HeartlandInstitute). “The media claims that Antarctica is losing ice 6 or more times faster than it was a few decades ago.” YouTube. 21 May 2024.

Heartland Institute. “The media claims that Antarctica is losing ice 6 or more time faster than it was a few decades ago. But in reality, it’s barely losing ice back then or now! …” Facebook. 

Greene, Chad. Email to FactCheck.org. 4 Jun 2024.

Zwally, H. Jay et al. “Mass Gains of the Antarctic Ice Sheet Exceed Losses.” Journal of Glaciology. 2015.

Petersen, Kate S. “Fact Check: NASA Antarctic Ice Sheet Data Consistent with Global Warming.” USA Today. 24 Mar 2023.

Study: Mass gains of Antarctic ice sheet greater than losses.” NASA website. 5 Nov 2015.

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Ice Sheets.” NASA website. Accessed 6 Jun 2024.

Rice, Doyle. “Antarctic Ice Melting 6 Times Faster than It Did in ’80s.” USA Today. Updated 15 Jan 2024.

Carrington, Damian. “Polar Ice Caps Melting Six Times Faster than in 1990s.” The Guardian. 11 Mar 2020.

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FactChecking Biden’s Promises ‘Kept’ – FactCheck.org

Este artículo estará disponible en español en El Tiempo Latino.

President Joe Biden punctuated a campaign speech in Philadelphia with the phrase “a promise made and a promise kept,” when chronicling several actions his administration has taken. But in a few cases, he hasn’t kept the promise or he misleadingly described his accomplishments.

  • Biden said the wealth gap between white and Black Americans is “the lowest it’s been in 20 years,” and he took credit. A 2023 paper from Federal Reserve Board staffers does show that the wealth ratio between white and Black families in 2022 was the smallest in 20 years, but the gap in raw dollars was the widest it had been since 1989.
  • Biden exaggerated in saying he was “keeping my promises that no one should be in jail merely for using or possessing marijuana.” He has issued pardons, but only retroactively and for people convicted under federal or D.C. laws. It’s unclear if anyone has been released from jail.
  • The president said he has kept his promise to “remove every lead pipe in America.” But that’s a “goal,” as the administration has said, that he has started to address. It’s not a “promise kept,” as Biden described it.
  • Biden rightly said he capped the cost of insulin and out-of-pocket prescription drug costs for seniors on Medicare. But he inaccurately added that the provisions will save Medicare $160 billion. Instead, they will increase costs.

As we typically see in campaign speeches, the president repeated claims we’ve written about before — on billionaires’ tax rates, former President Donald Trump’s comments on “bleach” and COVID-19, and Biden’s unsupported claim that Trump “is determined to cut Social Security and Medicare.”

Biden spoke in Philadelphia on May 29. Pennsylvania, a swing state, was won by Biden in 2020 and by Trump in 2016.

The White-Black Wealth Gap

Biden said he reduced the gap in wealth between white and Black Americans.

“The racial wealth gap is the lowest it’s been in 20 years because of our efforts,” Biden said, repeating a claim that he has made before. “A promise made and a promise kept.”

Biden was accurately referring to the ratio of median Black wealth compared with median white wealth, based on data in a research paper published in October 2023 by Federal Reserve Board staffers. The report shows that in 2022, Black families had $15.75 in wealth for every $100 in wealth for white families — the smallest gap since 2001, when the ratio was roughly the same. (The paper defines wealth as assets minus liabilities.)

However, by an alternative measure, in absolute or raw dollars, Black families had a median wealth of $44,890, and for white families the median was $285,010. The difference of $240,120 was the largest gap in inflation-adjusted dollars since 1989, which is as far back as the report’s data go. The wealth gap in absolute dollars widened in 2022 despite Black wealth growing at a faster rate than white wealth, the report said.

So, one measure supports Biden’s claim and the other does not.

In an email, Moritz Kuhn, a professor of economics at the University of Mannheim in Germany, told us that “in general, there is no right or wrong measure of inequality or the racial wealth gap.” Although, economists tend to prefer using the relative, or ratio, measurement when making comparisons over time, he said.

As for why Black wealth increased in 2022, the authors of the report said that the biggest factor was growth in net housing wealth, or “the market value of a family’s home minus any outstanding loans secured by the home.” Business equity was the second largest factor, followed by a rise in “other wealth” and stocks. The paper noted that more Black families owned homes, stocks and businesses in 2022 than in some prior years.

Pardons for Federal Marijuana Offenses

Biden has issued two proclamations pardoning people convicted of federal simple marijuana possession and use charges, as well as charges in Washington, D.C. But he exaggerated the impact of his actions when claiming that he was “keeping my promises that no one should be in jail” for such offenses. The pardons apply only to federal and D.C. offenses committed on or before Dec. 22, 2023 — not offenses after that date — and it’s unclear if anyone has or will be released from prison.

“I’m keeping my promises that no one should be in jail merely for using or possessing marijuana,” Biden said. “I pardoned thousands of people incarcerated for the mere possession of marijuana — thousands. A promise made and a promise kept. And for — their records should be expunged as well, I might add.”

Biden’s Oct. 6, 2022, proclamation grants “a full, complete, and unconditional pardon” to people who were U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents at the time they committed or were convicted of simple possession of marijuana in violation of either the federal Controlled Substances Act or D.C. Code 48–904.01(d)(1). The Justice Department explains that the pardon pertains to offenses committed on or before the date of the proclamation.

On Dec. 22, 2023, Biden issued a second proclamation to cover offenses committed up to that date, and expanded the eligible offenses beyond simple possession to include attempted possession and use.

The DOJ says that these pardons lift “barriers to housing, employment, and educational opportunities for thousands of people with those prior offenses.” But, as we explained in 2022, when Biden similarly exaggerated the scope of his first proclamation, the pardons don’t do anything for people convicted on state or local charges, and it’s unclear if anyone would be released from jail as a result of the pardons.

In October 2022, a senior administration official told reporters that “there are no individuals currently in federal prison solely for simple possession of marijuana.”

Simple possession of marijuana is a federal misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison and a minimum fine of $1,000 for a first-time offender. The penalties increase for repeat offenders. A January 2023 report from the U.S. Sentencing Commission said that 70% of federal marijuana possession offenders were sentenced to prison from fiscal year 2017 to 2021, with an average prison time of five months.

The report also said that nearly 60% of all offenders weren’t U.S. citizens. Biden’s pardons apply to citizens and legal permanent residents only.

In the December proclamation, Biden said he encouraged “Governors to do the same with regard to state offenses and applaud those who have since taken action.”

As of May 2, 24 states and Washington, D.C., as well as Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands have legalized recreational use of small amounts of marijuana, and more allow for medicinal use, according to a Congressional Research Service report.

Biden also exaggerated in saying that he “pardoned thousands of people” jailed for marijuana possession. Thousands of people are eligible for these federal pardons — in October 2022, the administration said more than 6,500 people with prior federal convictions and thousands with D.C. convictions could benefit — but they have to submit an application to get one. So far, 208 certificates of pardon have been issued, according to the DOJ webpage, last updated on June 3.

In his remarks in Philadelphia, Biden said that offenders’ “records should be expunged,” meaning the offense would be removed from the person’s permanent record. That’s something he promised for prior convictions on the campaign trail in 2020. But the pardons issued under his proclamations don’t expunge a conviction. In fact, the Justice Department says a president can’t grant expungement. Instead, it is up to the court, and it “is rarely granted.”

Lead Pipe Removal

The president said he has kept his promise to “remove every lead pipe in America.” But that’s a “goal,” as the administration has said — not what Biden described in Philadelphia as a “promise kept.”

Biden, May 29: Look, I said I’d remove every lead pipe in America so every child can drink clean water without fear of brain damage. We’re doing it. A promise made and a promise kept.

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which the Biden administration refers to as the bipartisan infrastructure law, is one of Biden’s signature accomplishments. It includes $15 billion in direct funding for lead pipe replacement. So far, the $9 billion in funding announced to date is “expected to replace up to 1.7 million lead pipes nationwide,” the Environmental Protection Agency said in a May 2 press release.

However, the EPA estimates that there are 9 million lead service lines in the United States, according to the agency’s Updated 7th Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs Survey & Assessment issued last month. As we’ve written before, the EPA estimated the average cost for full lead service line replacement at $4,700 per line. Using that estimate, it would cost more than $42 billion to replace 9 million lead pipes.

State, local and tribal governments can use other federal grant, loan and loan guarantee programs to replace lead service lines, such as community block grants and the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, which was created under the Safe Drinking Water Act in 1996, the EPA says on its website. But whether the Biden administration will “remove every lead pipe in America” is not yet a promise kept.

Medicare Savings

During the 2020 campaign, Biden promised to reduce prescription drug costs, including proposing to cap out-of-pocket drug expenses for Medicare beneficiaries, allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices and require Medicare to “target excessively priced prescription drugs that face little or no competition.”

In his Philadelphia speech, Biden said that he kept his promise to reduce prescription drug costs for seniors on Medicare.

“Seniors with diabetes are now paying $35 [a month] for insulin instead of $400,” Biden said. “We capped total out-of-pocket costs for drugs for seniors beginning next year at $2,000 a year total, including cancer drugs that cost $10-, $12-, $14,000 a year. You pay no more than $2,000 a year. A promise made and a promise kept.”

But he went too far when he repeated his claim that reducing insulin costs and out-of-pocket expenses will save Medicare $160 billion.

“And, by the way,” Biden added, “it not only saves people money, it saves the taxpayers — guess what? — $160 billion cut in the def- — because Medicare doesn’t have to pay those exorbitant prices.”

It’s actually the opposite. Those two provisions, which are part of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, will increase Medicare spending.

As we have written before, the insulin cap will cost $5.1 billion over 10 years, while the limit on out-of-pocket expenses for seniors with Medicare Part D prescription coverage will increase spending by $30 billion over the 2022-2031 period, according to Congressional Budget Office estimates.

Overall, the Medicare provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act are expected to reduce the deficit by $237 billion over 10 years, according to CBO. That includes prescription drug negotiation provisions that would save Medicare $98.5 billion over 10 years. There’s also a projected $63.2 billion in savings by requiring rebates from drug companies if their prices increase faster than inflation. Those two provisions total about $160 billion — which is the figure used by Biden.

But most of the savings haven’t happened yet.


Editor’s note: FactCheck.org does not accept advertising. We rely on grants and individual donations from people like you. Please consider a donation. Credit card donations may be made through our “Donate” page. If you prefer to give by check, send to: FactCheck.org, Annenberg Public Policy Center, 202 S. 36th St., Philadelphia, PA 19104. 

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Exaggerated Claims Circulate About Judge Merchan’s Family – FactCheck.org

Este artículo estará disponible en español en El Tiempo Latino.

Quick Take

Social media posts seeking to discredit the judge who presided over former President Donald Trump’s criminal case in New York have been circulating online. Contrary to a popular meme, the judge’s wife works for a Republican district attorney, not the Democratic state attorney general, and his daughter was not personally paid by a high-profile Democrat.


Full Story

A jury found former President Donald Trump guilty of 34 felony counts of falsifying business records to cover up hush money payments to a porn star in an attempt to influence the 2016 election. The judge overseeing the New York criminal case, Justice Juan Merchan, has been the target of several false or misleading claims, many of them from Trump himself.

Another claim is circulating online, this time saying that Merchan’s family is “corrupt.”

The New York court building where Justice Juan Merchan presided over former President Donald Trump’s criminal trial is in Manhattan. Photo by Rainer Mirau/stock.adobe.com

The meme, which has been shared on various social media platforms, references Rep. Adam Schiff — a Democrat from California who has been a frequent target of partisan misinformation since he led the first Trump impeachment proceedings — and New York Attorney General Letitia James — another Democrat who has also been targeted with misinformation after she brought a civil fraud case against Trump and his organization that resulted in a judgment of more than $450 million. The meme claims that Merchan’s “daughter was paid $4M by Adam Schiff” and “his wife works with Letitia James.”

Schiff’s 2020 campaign paid the political marketing firm run by Merchan’s daughter, Loren Merchan, and Lara Merchan, the judge’s wife, used to work for the state attorney general’s office but no longer does.

The claim connecting Loren Merchan to Schiff has been made by conservative online outlets before. For example, conservative commentator Julie Kelly laid it out in an April 1 post on her substack.

There, she accurately says that Schiff’s campaign paid $4 million in the 2020 election cycle to Authentic Campaigns, the political marketing agency where Loren Merchan works. Merchan is listed as the president on the company website, and Justice Merchan wrote in an August 2023 ruling that his daughter is the president and chief operating officer at Authentic.

But the meme goes even further, suggesting that Schiff paid Loren Merchan directly, which is inaccurate, and claiming it is evidence of a “corrupt” family.

According to records from the Federal Election Commission, it’s true that Schiff’s House campaign committee spent about $4 million on digital advertising and consulting with Authentic in 2019 and 2020. His Senate campaign so far has spent more than $12 million with Authentic during the 2024 election cycle, FEC records show.

On May 31, 2023, Trump’s legal team had raised the issue of Loren Merchan’s political work in an effort to get the judge to recuse himself. About six weeks earlier, Justice Merchan sought an opinion on the issue from the New York State Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics, which found no reason for recusal.

“[T]he matter currently before the judge does not involve either the judge’s relative or the relative’s business, whether directly or indirectly,” the committee wrote in its May 4, 2023, opinion. “They are not parties or likely witnesses in the matter, and none of the parties or counsel before the judge are clients of the business. We see nothing in the inquiry to suggest that the outcome of the case could have any effect on the judge’s relative, the relative’s business, or any of their interests.”

And, as we’ve written before, one of Trump’s own lawyers has said that he saw no bias on Merchan’s part. In an interview on CNN in April 2023, Joe Tacopina — who withdrew in January from representing Trump in the New York criminal case — said Merchan “has a very good reputation.”

“I have no reason to believe this judge is biased,” Tacopina said, before Trump’s legal team unsuccessfully sought Merchan’s recusal.

So, the potential conflict of interest posed by Loren Merchan’s job has already been discredited by the judicial ethics committee, and a former Trump lawyer on the case has said there’s no reason to think the judge is biased.

Regarding the meme’s claim about Merchan’s wife’s current job — that’s inaccurate.

Lara Merchan works in the Nassau County district attorney’s office. Currently, that office is led by District Attorney Anne T. Donnelly, who is a Republican.

According to Lara Merchan’s LinkedIn profile, she did work in the New York state attorney general’s office from November 2000 to March 2022. That means she would have worked for about three years under James, who took office in January 2019, and has been working for Donnelly for more than two years.

Merchan’s LinkedIn page says that she had worked as a “special assistant attorney general,” and, according to the attorney general’s website, the office has more than 1,700 staff members and more than 700 assistant attorneys general.

But, as we said, she left that job in 2022 and has been working for the Nassau County district attorney since then.

So, both claims made in the meme stretch the facts to make the unsupported claim that Merchan’s family is “corrupt.”


Editor’s note: FactCheck.org is one of several organizations working with Facebook to debunk misinformation shared on social media. Our previous stories can be found here. Facebook has no control over our editorial content.

Sources

Farley, Robert and D’Angelo Gore. “What’s in Trump’s Indictment?” FactCheck.org. Updated 30 May 2024.

Robertson, Lori, et al. “Trump’s Repeated Claims on His New York Hush Money Trial.” FactCheck.org. 30 May 2024.

Kiely, Eugene. “Judge Hasn’t Ruled on Trump’s Graduation Request.” FactCheck.org. Updated 17 May 2024.

Jaffe, Alan. “Trump Plans to Attend Son’s Graduation and GOP Fundraiser, Contrary to Online Claim.” FactCheck.org. Updated 17 May 2024.

KielyEugene, Lori Robertson and Robert Farley. “Examining Trump’s Claims on His Arrest and Arraignment.” Updated 10 Apr 2023.

Jalonick, Mary Clare. “Schiff sets tone of impeachment case, says ‘right matters.’” Associated Press. 23 Jan 2020.

Hale Spencer, Saranac. “Social Media Posts Inflate Net Worth of N.Y. Attorney General.” FactCheck.org. 29 Mar 2024.

Authentic. “Our Team.” Authentic.org. Accessed 3 Jun 2024.

State of New York v. Donald J. Trump. Ind. No. 71543-23. Decision on Defendant’s Motion for Recusal. 11 Aug 2023.

Federal Election Commission. Schiff for Congress disbursements to Authentic. 9 Jan 2019 to 31 Dec 2020

Federal Election Commission. Schiff for Senate disbursements to Authentic. 5 Jan 2023 to 18 Mar 2024.

State of New York v. Donald J. Trump. Ind. No. 71543-23. Memorandum of Law in Support of Donald J. Trump’s Motion for the Court’s Recusal and for an Explanation. 31 May 2023.

New York State Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics. Opinion 23-54. 4 May 2023.

Nassau County District Attorney’s Office. Honorable Anne T. Donnelly, District Attorney. Accessed 31 May 2024.

Bonfiglio, Briana. “Republican Anne Donnelly Declares Victory in Nassau DA Race.” Long Island Press. 2 Nov 2021.

Merchan, Lara. LinkedIn. Accessed 31 May 2024.

Office of the New York State Attorney General. About the Office. Accessed 3 Jun 2024.

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All eyes on Indian Right Wing: How pro-BJP influencers targeted celebrities for Rafah-solidarity posts – Alt News

Seven months into the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza, more than 35,000 lives have been lost in Palestine with thousands injured and displaced. On May 26, Israel launched airstrikes on Rafah in southern Gaza, where numerous displaced Palestinian civilians were taking refuge in camps, resulting in the deaths of at least 45 people.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu acknowledged the strikes and dubbed them a ‘tragic mishap’. However, on May 28, Israel unleashed airstrikes again in Rafah killing 21. Just days before the massacre in Rafah, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) had ordered Israel to halt its offensive in Rafah and to withdraw from the area.

The attack caused a massive fire, and horrifying images of charred bodies and a headless child surfaced on social media. The visuals of the fire in civilian tents triggered worldwide outrage. As many took to social media platforms to share information about the situation, several influential figures globally expressed their solidarity with those affected by the Israeli airstrike. Most popularly, an AI-generated graphic depicting what appear to be camp tents with the text “All Eyes on Rafah” was shared over 40 million times.

According to the BBC, the slogan got traction after a WHO representative working in Palestinian territories, Richard Peeperkorn, in February 2024 told journalists at the time that “All eyes are on Rafah”, warning against Israeli forces attacking the city. After the graphic with the ‘All Eyes on Rafah’ slogan started trending, Hollywood big names and influential personalities such as Mark Ruffalo, Aaron Paul, Bella Hadid, and others shared it.

Several Indian celebrities also participated in the trend and shared the graphic as their Instagram story. This included tennis player Sania Mirza and several Indian actors such as Madhuri Dixit, Konkona Sen Sharma, Swara Bhaskar, Priyanka Chopra, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Varun Dhawan and others.

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Right Wing Targets Indian Celebrities

In a December 2023 report, Alt News documented how Indian social media influencers who aligned themselves with the political Right had been on an overdrive sharing and amplifying pro-Israel propaganda on social media — misleading claims, unverifiable narratives, false quotes, old and unrelated photos and videos: misinformation and disinformation of almost every kind.

This time too, as the ‘All Eyes on Rafah’ trend caught up with social media users and particularly celebrities, Right Wing influencers and propaganda mouthpieces started bullying Indian celebrities who shared the aforementioned graphic or expressed support for Palestine, questioning why they hadn’t spoken up about persecuted Hindus in Pakistan or Kashmiri Pandits. Several of these accounts edited the text on the original graphic to read “All Eyes on POK” or “All Eyes on Pakistani Hindus.” Others transformed the graphic into memes that trivialized the massacre in Rafah and the solidarity that followed.

Below are a few instances:

Ritika Sajdeh Attacked by RW Trolls

Indian men’s cricket team captain Rohit Sharma’s wife Ritika Sajdeh was also one among the above names who initially shared the ‘All Eyes On Rafah’ graphic on her Instagram Story. However, Sajdeh deleted her story after being subjected to online bullying by Right-Wing trolls.

Deepak Sharma (@SonOfBharat7), who has often used his platform to amplify misinformation, tweeted a warning for the Indian cricketer and his wife. Sharing an image of the couple he wrote in Hindi: “Dear Rohit Sharma,

Was it your wife’s mistake that she was posting stories in support of the terrorists and barbaric demons today, or are you such a scoundrel that you don’t give her enough money for her needs, and she had to post stories to earn a few rupees?

This was the first mistake, so forgiven.
If it happens again, there will be consequences ✊” (Archive)

Below are a few more instances of the Right-wing trolls targeting Ritika Sajdeh.

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Mohammed Siraj

Indian cricketer Mohammed Siraj also shared the same graphic on his Instagram story prompting hate from the Right-wing ecosystem.

Premium subscribed X user Moana (@ladynationalist) shared a screenshot of the story shared by Siraj on Instagram and wrote in Hindi: “No matter how much you consider them your own, they will eventually reveal their true nature”. It is apparent from the language that Siraj was being otherized on the basis of his religion. (Archive)

The same user also posted about several other celebrities targeting them for sharing the viral graphic, especially, individuals who either belonged to the Muslim community or are related to/involved with a Muslim person.

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Rhiti Tiwari

BJP MP Manoj Tiwari’s daughter Rhiti Tiwari, who recently joined the BJP, also shared the viral graphic and added a message saying: “Beheading children and burning them alive, amongst the countless other atrocities they’re facing, is beyond evil. To anyone thinking ‘one Insta story won’t do shit’. It will spread awareness and raise your voice, we want a rebellion and we want justice”. However, Rhiti had to delete the post from her story after facing backlash from the Right Wing.

Right-wing influencer Shefali Vaidya shared a video of Rhiti Tiwari with the caption: “This is the same Rhiti Tiwari, daughter of BJP candidate @ManojTiwariMP who shared that meme yesterday about Rafah, and also, she is a member of @BJP4India ! This is a shame that such Izlamic Terr0r supporters are a part of the BJP! cc @blsanthosh @JPNadda”.

Shefali Vaidya also commented on one of Manoj Tiwari’s tweets saying, “Your daughter @RhitiTiwari is supporting the Islamic terrorists of Rafah there, please share some knowledge with her too!”

Several others on social media resorted to bullying Rhiti Tiwari for sharing the graphic. Below are a few instances.

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Tiwari later shared a clarification on her Instagram story saying that “my eyes have always remained on each and every atrocities happening around and I always have and will simply just stand for humanity”.

Squint Neon Targets Celebrities

Right-wing troll Squint Neon posted a thread with screenshots of posts by several Indian celebrities who had shared the graphic.

Squint Neon has a history of targeting and bullying people whose political views don’t align with his. Previously, he routinely posted images of Hindu women who were in any way connected with a Muslim man and unleashed his army of trolls on them. He also repeatedly used an image of a crying Gazan boy as a meme template in order to mock Palestinians. Alt News has done an extensive report on the same.

Raushan Sinha (MrSinha_)

Raushan Sinha or @MrSinha_ on X who had played an extensive role in peddling misinformation related to the conflict since October 2023, also took to his X handle and resorted to whataboutery saying that the posts of solidarity made by the celebrities were a PR activity directed by Hamas.

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Randomsena (@randomsena)

Premium subscribed X page Randomsena (@randomsena) tweeted on May 28 that “trolling is the best way to deal with these propagandists”. The page hailed the trolling unleashed by the Right Wing on Ritika Sajdeh and Rhiti Tiwari which led them to delete their stories. The user further claimed that Indian celebrities had shared these posts about Palestine receiving funding from foreign sources.

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Several other users on X shared similar tweets targeting those who had shared the graphic or anything related to the killings in Rafah.

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‘All Eyes on Rafah’ Graphic Turned into Distasteful Memes

Right-wing influencer and journalist Ajeet Bharti (@ajeetbharti) on May 29 tweeted an edited version of the viral graphic which showed a silhouette of a dog defecating over the text “All Eyes on Rafah”. Sharing the image, he asked in the caption, “Can someone make a silhouette of a pig instead of a dog?”, and his followers delivered. (Archive)

While a few shared the edited graphic with an image of a pig defecating, some others edited the text with abuse. One of the commentators imposed the image of a crying Gazan boy.

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Another premium subscribed X user, Vikram Pratap Singh (@VIKRAMPRATAPSIN), who as per his bio is an entrepreneur, shared the same image as Ajeet Bharti and mentioned in his caption: “Fixed it”. His tweet has received more than 20 Lakh views and has been retweeted over 1,900 times. (Archive)

Right Wing YouTuber Elvish Yadav, who was arrested in March for allegedly selling snake venom at rave parties, shared the viral graphic on Instagram with the text changed. The original text was changed to “All Eyes on POK”. He shared the same edited graphic on X with the caption: “I Condemn Killings Of Human Beings Irrespective Of Their Religions Still My Eyes On POK”.

Premium subscribed X user m. (@Rashmalaii) posted a thread praising influencers who shared the edited version of the viral graphic.

BJP MP from Karnataka P C Mohan also shared an edited version of the viral graphic wherein the original text was changed to “Aayega to Modi hi” (Modi will be back). However, his son Rithin PM was also among those who had shared the original “All Eyes on Rafah” graphic.

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Several other users such as BJP MLA Atul Bhatkhalkar, Right-wing influencer Rishi Bagree followed suit and shared the edited version of the graphic on their social media handles.

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On May 30, Union ministry of external affairs spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal reiterated India’s stance on the ongoing war, emphasizing that India had always advocated for a two-state solution to resolve the conflict. Addressing the airstrikes in Rafah, the MEA spokesperson described the incident as “heartbreaking” and noted that India has acknowledged Israel’s initiation of a probe into the civilian deaths.

India’s official stance, both historically and under PM Modi’s administration, has been in favour of the recognition of Palestine as a sovereign state. However, ever since the conflict began in October, 2023, Right-wing groups, including staunch supporters of the BJP and PM Modi, have found an opportunity to channelize their Islamophobia and communal hatred in supporting Israel’s alleged war crimes in Palestine. The Indian Right Wing has made its position on the ongoing war in Gaza clear by consistently supporting Israel and mocking injured and dead Palestinians. Alt News has documented and analysed the Right Wing’s role in spearheading the disinformation and propaganda campaign about the conflict.

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The journey of ‘bulldozer justice’: From Right Wing fringe elements to Modi’s election vocabulary – Alt News

If SP or Congress come to power, they will send Ram Lalla back to the tent and will run a bulldozer on the temple. Is this what you want to learn from Yogi ji? Take tuitions from Yogi ji where to use the bulldozer and where not to.”

In an election rally at Barabanki, Uttar Pradesh, held on May 17, PM Modi indicated the Congress-SP alliance, if voted to power, would send Ram Lalla to the tents and run a bulldozer over the Ram Temple in Ayodhya. In a snide reference to what has come to be known as ‘bulldozer justice’, Modi asked the Opposition to learn from Yogi Adityanath where to use the bulldozer and where not.

‘Bulldozer Justice’ has become a model of retributive violence popularized by Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath in which bulldozers are deployed by the authorities to raze down the house of an accused before a case or a dispute reaches a judicial closure. According to an Amnesty International report, “The authorities in Gujarat, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh claimed that the demolition of Muslim properties was based on violations of land regulations, such as not securing the required permissions from the local municipalities, or operating businesses on government land, and other regulatory infractions. However, there are widespread similar breaches of land regulations by Hindus as well, and the measures these authorities have taken have been directed largely at Muslims and not Hindus.”

Yogi, popularly hailed as Bulldozer Baba, has repeatedly targeted Muslims while campaigning for the ongoing elections. In one of his speeches, he prided himself on the fact that Muslims offering prayers had vanished from the streets of Uttar Pradesh. On April 21, Adityanath was given a unique guard of honour by a horde of bulldozers when he went to the Bilaspur district of Chhattisgarh for election campaigning.

This was repeated, with a louder emphasis on the spectacle of the bulldozers, on May 2, in the Mainpuri district of Uttar Pradesh, when CM Yogi led a roadshow which included bulldozers being queued up as part of the parade, from the top of which local BJP supporters and workers showered petals on the chief minister. The bulldozers were adorned with flowers and sported large posters of PM Modi and Yogi Adityanath.

Tracing the Journey of ‘bulldozer Justice’

Ever since the Modi-led BJP government came to power in 2014, bulldozers have been co-opted by the administrative machinery as an instrument of retributive justice. Over time, the idea of ‘bulldozer justice’ has been popularized the Right Wing ‘fringe elements’ in their speeches. By latching onto the public perception of bulldozers as a means of extra-judicial punishment against Muslims, this rhetoric has seeped into the mainstream political narrative, with eventually PM Modi himself exalting the practice during his speech in UP.

For instance, in October 2021, speaking at a congregation organised by Jay Ambe Seva Group in Gujarat’s Morbi district, Right Wing hardliner Kajal Shingala, popularly known as Kajal Hindustani, called for the demolition of local Islamic structures, which she decreed as illegal. Addressing the crowd, she had said, “I will make the strategy and lead it, all I need is your support. If it is illegal, then why do we need to adopt legal means to destroy it? I will get the bulldozer and I will pay for it. If people are standing with me, I will do it. Tell me when should we do this?” According to a report by The Quint, the local shrine in question came under the purview of the municipal corporation and was not illegal.

More recently, Yati Narsinghanand Saraswati urged the UP chief minister to demolish the Islamic seminary Darul Uloom Deoband with bulldozers over its fatwa about ‘Ghazwa-e-Hind’. “Send your bulldozers and raze Darul Uloom Deoband. Nothing would happen by demolishing properties of petty people,” he said in a video statement.

In another recent interview, he drew attention to the fact that what he had said at the Dharam sansad (religious parliaments) were now being repeated by the Prime Minister himself at public rallies. This, Saraswati said, proved that he was right.

The gun-wielding ‘Acharya’ Azad Singh Arya, who is revered as the chief of the Gau Raksha Dal in Haryana, has resorted to the ‘bulldozer’ rhetoric on several occasions. At one such gathering documented by Alt News, Acharya Azad urged the Haryana government to ‘use bulldozers on cow smugglers.’

Addressing Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar, he said, “I would like to request respected Khattar Saab: Please become Yogi for a day. Forget cow slaughter, no one would even dare to touch a hair on any cow. Bulldoze the cow slaughterers and those who cannot stand the protection of cows. But eight years have passed Khattar saab; I don’t understand when you will become Yogi.” (Translation) His speech was met with loud applause from the crowd. It is evident that ‘bulldoze’ here is used as an open call for violence against the Muslims.

Acharya Azad made a similar statement in the aftermath of the Nuh violence in August 2023. While speaking at a Hindu Mahapanchayat held at Pondri village of the Palwal district of Haryana, he exhorted Hindus to take up arms against Muslims. He also appealed to the authorities to ‘bulldoze’ the houses of Muslim people who were responsible for the communal clash.

In the wake of the clashes in Nuh, the country witnessed a barrage of hate speeches made at several rallies and Mahapanchayats across Northern India, where Hindutva ideologues made open calls for violence and economic boycotts. The ‘bulldozer’ rhetoric was a consistent ploy used in these speeches, to further disenfranchise Muslims. At a protest rally organised by several Hindutva groups at Mohan Nagar Chowk in Kurukshetra on August 2, 2023, Haryana, demonstrators were heard urging for ‘bulldozer action’ in retaliation to the communal clashes which had transpired in Nuh, Haryana. Some of the protestors can also be seen riding on bulldozers.

Yet another protest rally was organised by Hindu Right Wing outfits on August 2, 2023, in Prayagraj, in the presence of retired IPS officer KP Singh, a member of the VHP. Islamophobic chants could be heard in the background along with slogans of ‘Bulldozer Baba Zindabad’.

In a byte from the same rally, Vinod Aggarwal, a senior member of the VHP, claims that the perpetrators of the communal clash need to be identified and punished by bulldozers. He also says, “Their houses should be bulldozed similar to the way Yogi Baba uses the bulldozer to restore peace in UP”.

प्रयागराज विश्व हिन्दु परिषद, बजरंग दल और अन्य हिंदूवादी संगठन ने प्रयागराज मे हरियाणा के मेवात की घटना को लेकर जबरदस्त विरोध प्रदर्शन किया। सरकार से मांग की राष्ट्रीय एजेंसी NIA मेवात की घटना की छानबीन करे। जिसप्रकार से इंटीलिजेंस की खामियाँ आयी है यह दुर्भाग्य पूर्ण है । हिन्दु संगठनों ने सरकार मांग की है कि मृतक के परिवार को 1 करोड़ रुपये और घायन को 20 लाख रुपये दिये जाए और दोषियों पर सख्त से सख्त कार्यवाही की जाए ।

बाइट विनोद अग्रवाल प्रांत प्रचारक VHP

Posted by Vilas Gupta on Wednesday 2 August 2023

Bulldozer in Hindutva Pop

In Hindutva pop, the rhetoric of the bulldozer is a common trope. The songs implicitly celebrate the extra-judicial actions taken by ‘Bulldozer Baba’. Independent journalist Kunal Purohit, who works at the intersection of politics, social justice, and international relations, recently authored a book called ‘H-Pop: The Secretive World of Hindutva Pop Stars’. In his words, these songs “…when fused with psychedelic beats and hypnotic rhythms, combined with the headiness that being in a group brings, can turn processions into bloodthirsty mobs.” (Purohit Page 10).

Produced by small-time studio houses, these numbers take recourse to catchy beats, and lyrics that stoke nationalist pride and confirm ideological biases and stereotypes in order to normalise political extremism against minority populations.

We have covered a few examples which explicitly celebrate Yogi Adityanath’s ‘bulldozer model’, while calling for attacks against ‘deshdrohis’ (anti-nationals) and ‘dangayi’ (rioters), disseminating the bulldozer rhetoric.

BJP’s Azamgarh MP Dinesh Lal Yadav, popularly known as Nirahua, released a song called ‘Baba Ka Bulldozer’ which has garnered 5.1 million views. The English translation of the Bhojpuri lyrics from this song goes: “When the bulldozer acts, snakes and scorpions go into hiding in their holes”, alluding to the extra-judicial mechanism whereby bulldozers come across as objects of intimidation and fear to the minority communities.

A verified channel called Prabhakar Maurya Ayodhya with over 260000 subscribers, uploaded a music video dedicated to ‘Bulldozer Baba’. Slogans like ‘Dangayi sab knaap rahe hai, bulldozer baba chaap rahe hai’ (Tranlation: The rioters are scared, Bulldozer baba is mowing them) and “Rashtravirodhi pe hai bhaari, bulldozer baba bhagwadhari’ (Translation: He is hard on the anti-nationals, Bulldozer Baba is saffron-clad). The song currently has 4.1 million views on YouTube.

A singer by the name of Shrawan Sultanpuri has a staggering 2.5 million views on a song that glorifies Yogi Adityanath’s reign as the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh. The lyrics of this composition can be literally translated as – “Anti-nationals and traitors will be imprisoned, no one will last against Bulldozer wale Baba”. brandishing the symbolic meaning of the vehicle as something that refers to the unrivalled popularity of Yogi Adityanath’s ‘bulldozer politics.’ The channel has 35,000 subscribers.

By explicitly valorising the bulldozer as an entity that has the capacity to punish the archetypal ‘deshdrohi’ (anti-national), which is the Muslim stone-thrower, these songs operate to recalibrate the very way people perceive the bulldozer. It becomes a symbol that is both abstract and sentient at the same time; an entity whose raison d’etre lies in the protection of the motherland against its enemies.

BJP Leaders Calling for Bulldozer Justice

BJP leaders, too, have indulged in this communal rhetoric while making speeches. At a rally in the Shahdara Chowk area of New Delhi on August 3, 2023, BJP leader Jai Bhagwan Goyal urged all state governments to enforce ‘bulldozer action’ against the ‘Jihadis’, by emulating the Yogi government in UP.

T Raja Singh, the BJP MLA from the Goshamahal in Telangana, notorious for delivering incendiary speeches, has also reinforced this communal rhetoric several times in the past. The most recent documentation of his speech by Alt News shows that while speaking at the Hindu Jan Akrosh Morcha rally on January 6 in Solapur, Singh called for violence and exhorted Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde to follow in the footsteps of Yogi Adityanath and implement ‘bulldozer politics’ in Maharashtra. He proclaims that those accused of ‘Land Jihad’, ‘Love Jihad’, and cow slaughter would have to face the bulldozer.

In February 2022, Raja Singh was embroiled in a controversy over a remark he had made in a video, where he was seen urging people to vote for Yogi Adityanath or face the wrath of bulldozers. He said, “Hindus should come and vote in large numbers. I want to tell those who did not vote for BJP that Yogi Adityanath has got thousands of JCBs and bulldozers which were procured by him to mow down people who did not support the BJP in the ongoing elections. Yogiji will take action against the identified traitors who did not support BJP during the assembly elections.” The Election Commission issued a show-cause notice to Raja Singh for his incendiary speech.

In March 2023, Alt News documented several speeches in Maharashtra by Singh. In Shrirampur, he lauded Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde for demolishing Afzal Khan’s tomb. He said, “Shinde should also be known as bulldozer Eknath Shinde”, urging him to follow the pattern set by Adityanath.

On April 16, Bijoy Malakar, a BJP MLA from Assam’s Ratabari constituency, came under the spotlight for allegedly threatening the villagers from the Karimganj district to vote for the BJP or be prepared for eviction. Malakar made these comments while campaigning for BJP MP candidate Kripanath Mallah. In the short video which emerged from the rally, he can be heard saying “…if you do not vote this time, I know where you are from, and where you live. The election result is on the…4th, make sure the JCB doesn’t reach your home after that”.

In the state of Assam, ever since BJP’s Himanta Biswa Sarma came to power as the chief minister in 2021, thousands of homes have been razed by bulldozers under the label of anti-encroachment drives. This has rendered a large number of Bengali-speaking Muslim families homeless. Similarly, Uttarakhand CM Pushkar Dhami has carried out several acts of ‘bulldozer justice,’ justifying his actions under the pretext of targeting ‘illegal encroachment.’

The Congress Manifesto addresses the trend of ‘bulldozer justice’. In the sixteenth point under the section titled ‘Defending the Constitution,’ the party has vowed to put an end to ‘…arbitrary and indiscriminate arrests, third-degree methods, prolonged custody, judicial deaths, and bulldozer justice.’

Thus, the ‘bulldozer’ rhetoric has travelled from the discourse of Right Wing fringe elements to the mainstream electoral politics, culminating in the controversial remarks made by the Prime Minister of the country at Barabanki, UP. This, one can say, conclusively settles the long-standing debate — whether for the Indian Right Wing, the fringe is the mainstream.

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The world knew Mahatma Gandhi for his ideas years before the 1982 film; PM Modi’s claim incorrect & inexplicable – Alt News

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was interviewed by three ABP journalists — Romana Isar Khan (news anchor, ABP), Rohit Singh Saval (output editor, ABP News) and Suman De (senior vice-president, ABP Ananda) on May 28, 2024.

At the 1.05.31-minute mark in the conversation, Modi was asked about the Opposition’s absence in the Ram Mandir consecration ceremony and whether their decision would have an impact on the election results. In reply, the PM criticized the Opposition saying they could not come out of a mentality of servitude. He then went on to add, “Mahatma Gandhi was a great man. Wasn’t it our responsibility in these 75 years to make sure that the world knew Mahatma Gandhi? Nobody knows Mahatma Gandhi. It was only when the ‘Gandhi’ film was made that the world was curious to know who this man was. We haven’t done it. It was our responsibility. If the world knows Martin Luther King, if the world knows the South African leader Nelson Mandela (the interviewers prompt the name before Modi repeats it), Gandhi was no less than them. You have to accept this. I am saying this after travelling across the globe…”

It is understood that the PM referred to British filmmaker Richard Attenborough’s biopic of Gandhi released in 1982, where Ben Kingsley played the eponymous character. The following year, ‘Gandhi’ received 11 Academy Award nominations and won 8, including the Academy Award for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor in a Leading Role.

Prime Minister Modi is Wrong

To say that Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was largely unknown to the world till the 1982 movie is to betray a lack of basic awareness about the life and times of the most iconic Indian who ever lived. The international media coverage of Gandhi from as early as the 1920s and several other kinds of documentary evidence of his popularity in the West — among celebrities and common folks alike — prove this beyond an iota of doubt.

Gandhi in International Media

A simple keyword search on Google with the terms ‘Gandhi on international newspapers’ reveals several reports on Gandhi by prominent international newspapers and also lesser known dailies from the West from the 1920s till his death in 1948 and beyond.

Gandhi’s arrest on March 10, 1922, in Ahmadabad for writing three articles in ‘Young India’ was reported by the illustrated British weekly, The Graphic, on March 18, 1922. This is one of the first mentions of him in a Western newspaper.

The Civil and Military Gazette, published from Lahore, on March 12, 1922 carried a Reuters report on an agitation in Nairobi in response to Gandhi’s arrest.

Among the prominent Western media outlets, mention must be made of The Time magazine which featured Gandhi as its Man of the Year in 1930. The related article was published on January 5, 1931, and was headlined “Saint Gandhi”: Man of the Year 1930. It said, “It was exactly twelve months ago that Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi’s Indian National Congress promulgated the Declaration of Indian Independence. It was in March that he marched to the sea to defy Britain’s salt tax as some New Englanders once defied a British tea tax… It was in May that Britain jailed Gandhi at Poona. Last week he was still there, and some 30,000 members of his Independence movement were caged elsewhere. The British Empire was still wondering fearfully what to do about them all, the Empire’s most staggering problem … it was in a jail that the year’s end found the little half-naked brown man whose 1930 mark on world history will undoubtedly loom largest of all.”

The cover of the concerned issue of The Time had Gandhi’s portrait.

‘The father of the nation’ would be on The Time Magazine cover on two more occasions, on March 31, 1930 and June 30, 1947.

One of the most well-known portrayals of Gandhi in an international newspaper was the Iowa-based Burlington Hawk-eye’s full page feature on him on Page 5 on September 20, 1931. The banner headline read, “Most Talked About Man in the World”.

The iconic photograph of Gandhi at his spinning wheel, too, was taken by a foreigner. In 1946, American documentary photographer Margaret Bourke-White was in India working on a feature which would eventually be published under the headline “India’s Leaders,” in the May 27, 1946, issue of LIFE. The photo of Gandhi at the wheel did not make it to the gallery which had two other pictures of him. A couple of years later, the iconic photo was used by LIFE in its multiple-page tribute to Gandhi after his assassination.

The news of Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination on January 30, 1948 was on the front page of several foreign newspapers. Below are a few examples:

The New York Times

The report can be read here.

The Guardian

The report can be read here.

The Washington Post

The Daily Telegraph

There were others as well.

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The West’s Interest in Gandhi, the Person

The keen interest which the West took in Gandhi and his ideas is best exemplified by the eagerness of some of the biggest celebrities from Europe and the US to know him personally. One instance that readily comes to mind is Gandhi’s meeting with Charles Chaplin.

Chaplin, by then dubbed as the most famous man in the world, was keen to meet Gandhi when the latter was in London to attend a Round Table Conference in 1931. Gandhi, totally uninterested in films, had not heard of him. According to reports, the man who was hosting Gandhi at Kingsley Hall told him that he must meet Chaplin, who was the most famous man in the world “except for you, of course”. Gandhi agreed to meet Chaplin only after someone had told him that the latter “was sympathetic to our cause”. The meeting eventually took place on September 22, 1931, at 45 Beckton Road in Canning Town, London.

Chaplin described the meeting and the exchange of ideas elaborately in his autobiography (Pages 342, 343).

Martin Luther King Jr wrote a piece on the Hindustan Times paying his tributes to Gandhi on the latter’s 10th death anniversary in 1958. He wrote:

“He (Gandhi) would resist evil as much as the man who uses violence, but he resists it without external violence or violence of the spirit. That is what Gandhism does. It is a method of the strong. If the only alternative is between cowardice and violence, it is better — as Gandhi said — to use violence, but there is another way. I myself gained this insight from Gandhi. When I was in theological school, I thought the only way we could solve our problem of segregation was an armed revolt. I felt that the Christian ethic of love was confined to individual relationships. I could not see how it could work in social conflict. Then I read Gandhi’s ethic of love as revealed in Jesus but raised to a social strategy for social transformation.”

Among others, Albert Einstein’s correspondence with Gandhi has been studied by followers of the two men over the ages with keen interest. In 1931, he wrote in a letter to Gandhi, “You have shown through your words, that it is possible to succeed without violence even with those who have not discarded the method of violence. We may hope that your example will spread beyond the borders of the country… I hope that I will be able to meet you face to face someday.”

Later, on Gandhi’s 70th birthday in 1939, Einstein wrote of Gandhi, “Generations to come, it may be, will scarce believe that such a one as this ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth.” In fact, Prime Minister Modi himself quoted this in his op-ed piece in The New York Times on October 2, 2019, titled “Why India and the World Need Gandhi”. In the same piece, he also wrote about the influence Gandhi had on Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King jr.

The list of Western celebrities who knew Gandhi personally or from a distance before 1982 is, perhaps, endless. Among them are Leo Tolstoy, George Bernard Shaw, Ho Chi Minh, John Lennon, Pearl S Buck et al. American journalist Louis Fischer wrote ‘The Life of Mahatma Gandhi’, possibly the most widely read biography of the man, in 1950.

It is not that only the notable men took a keen interest in Gandhi. The following video, uploaded on YouTube by the Press Information Bureau of the Govt. of India, shows a large crowd of “working class people” greeting Gandhi in Lancaster and London in 1931.

Besides, several countries issued postage stamps in honour of Gandhi way before the 1982 film was even shot. These include the US in 1961, the Republic of Congo in 1967, and around 40 countries on Gandhi centenary in 1969.

It is, thus, inexplicable, why Modi claimed that Gandhi was unknown to the world before the 1982 movie. The claim, coming from the Prime Minister of India, is factually incorrect and bizarre.

Sources: The British Newspaper Archive, mkgandhi.org, PIB, archives of publications mentioned in the story.

 

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Lake Ad Makes Misleading Claim About Gallego and Noncitizen Voting – FactCheck.org

Este artículo estará disponible en español en El Tiempo Latino.

Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego has consistently said that he opposes allowing anyone other than United States citizens to vote in Arizona and in federal elections. But in a campaign ad attacking him, Arizona Republican Senate candidate Kari Lake misleadingly claims that the congressman “supports … allowing illegals to vote.”

Other than citing a bill name and number in small font, the ad does not make clear that Lake’s claim is based on Gallego’s February 2023 vote against a joint resolution that would have stopped Washington, D.C., from enacting a law that gives eligible noncitizens — regardless of their immigration status — the right to vote in that city’s local elections for positions such as mayor and councilmember.

However, the Local Resident Voting Rights Amendment Act, which later became D.C. law, does not allow the city’s noncitizen residents to vote in federal elections, which is prohibited under federal law.

“Washington, D.C. is not Arizona, and I do not believe Congress should be in the business of telling the residents of Washington, D.C. how to hold their democratic elections,” Gallego said in a statement at the time of his vote in 2023.

The attack ad could lead viewers to wrongly believe that Gallego supported letting people without legal status vote in federal, state and local elections in Arizona.

What’s more, on May 23, over a week after the ad began airing, the congressman switched positions on the D.C. law and voted for a different bill pushed by Republicans that would repeal the city’s voting ordinance.

“I believe that only citizens have the Constitutional right to vote, which is why I voted for this legislation,” Gallego said in a statement about his recent vote.

Lake and the National Republican Senatorial Committee are reportedly spending $675,000 to run the immigration-focused ad on broadcast, cable and digital media in Arizona. It is the initial phase of a $10 million ad buy, her campaign said in a press release.

Lake is the front-runner in the state’s GOP Senate primary and is expected to face Gallego in the general election for the seat being vacated by Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema. The race could determine control of the U.S. Senate in 2025. Sinema, along with two other independent senators, caucuses with the Democrats, helping the party maintain a two-seat majority.

The ad starts with a group of Arizonans discussing illegal immigration at the U.S. southern border and then blaming President Joe Biden. Later, Lake joins them and talks about the “big differences” between her and Gallego, who she says supports “sanctuary cities” and “allowing illegals to vote,” and is “opposed to the border wall.”

Gallego did co-sponsor the Safeguarding Sanctuary Cities Act of 2017, which would have barred reducing or withholding federal funding to state or local governments that restrict law enforcement from complying with immigration detainer requests.

He also objected to building a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico, saying in a March 2018 social media post that the structure proposed by then-President Donald Trump was “stupid” and “useless.” In a 2017 op-ed, Gallego also said that he opposed Trump’s wall because it was about “dividing Americans – playing upon the racial fears and anxiety” and “will do nothing about the real issue of visa overstays.”

More recently, Gallego has supported bipartisan immigration legislation with $650 million included for border wall construction or reinforcement.

But Lake’s claim that Gallego wants people without legal status to vote is misleading.

A citation in a version of the ad captured by AdImpact on May 14 references the congressman’s vote against H.J.Res. 24, which passed the House with bipartisan support in February 2023. (The version of the ad the Lake campaign uploaded to YouTube wrongly cites the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.)

The joint resolution was introduced by House Republicans after the D.C. Council approved the Local Resident Voting Rights Amendment Act in October 2022. The bill amended the city’s election code to allow all qualifying D.C. residents – including those without a legal immigration status – to vote for mayor, city council, attorney general and other locally elected positions in D.C., as well as ballot initiatives and referendums.

But before bills passed by the D.C. Council can officially become law, they are required to be submitted for review by Congress. That’s because the U.S. Constitution gives Congress legislative authority over the District, which is the federal capital and not a state.

After the bill was submitted to the House for review in January 2023, the resolution disapproving the D.C. bill was introduced, and it passed with 260 votes in favor, including 42 from Democrats. Gallego was one of the 162 Democrats who voted against the resolution and in favor of allowing the city’s voting rights law take effect.

At the time, the congressman said he would not support allowing noncitizens to vote in federal elections or elections in his home state, but he argued that the nation’s capital city — not Congress — should control its own elections.

“I believe voting is a fundamental right reserved for the citizens of the United States, and I will oppose any effort to erode that right in Arizona and on the federal level,” Gallego said in a Feb. 9, 2023, statement. “But Washington, D.C. is not Arizona, and I do not believe Congress should be in the business of telling the residents of Washington, D.C. how to hold their democratic elections. Today’s vote, if anything, is yet another example of why we need D.C. statehood, so those living in Washington no longer find themselves at the mercy of a vindictive Republican House majority.”

Because the Democratic-controlled Senate did not vote on the resolution in the required 30-day review period, the D.C. legislation automatically became law in early 2023. D.C. is now one of only a few cities or municipalities in the country that permit noncitizen residents to participate in local elections.

However, on May 23, the House voted on another GOP-led bill, H.R. 192, that would repeal the D.C. law. This time, 262 members voted in favor of the legislation, including 52 Democrats. Gallego, in a reversal, was one of the representatives who supported the bill, which is unlikely to receive a vote in the Senate.

In a statement, the Arizona lawmaker said, “I believe that only citizens have the Constitutional right to vote, which is why I voted for this legislation.” He also claimed that the new bill made “important improvements on the previous attempt” to block the D.C. law — even though the legislation would have had the same effect as the joint resolution if signed into law.

We asked Gallego’s congressional office and his Senate campaign for clarification, but neither has responded.

After his vote on May 23, Lake released a statement accusing Gallego of having “flip-flopped” because “he is running for Senate and finds it politically convenient.”

Gallego may no longer believe that D.C. should decide if noncitizens can vote in the city’s local elections, but he has been consistent about noncitizens not being allowed to vote in state and federal elections — contrary to what the ad suggests.


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