A newspaper clipping regarding an incident at a garba venue is going viral, close on the heels of multiple news reports of communal tensions flaring up in Gujarat when Hindu groups allegedly checked identity cards to ensure that Muslims did not enter garba venues – the traditional dance events held during the Navratri festival. The recently concluded Navratri days spanned from September 26 to October 5 in 2022.
Social media users have shared the clipping of a news report that stated that a Vadodara scientist was thrown out of a garba venue in the US by Gujaratis as his last name was not “Hindu enough”.
Newschecker first went through the newspaper clipping and saw that it was a report from the Times of India, considering there is a mention of the subject talking to TOI over the phone and that the domain name of the mail id was timesgroup.com.
We ran a keyword search for “Garba US TOI scientist”, which led us to this news report from the Times of India, dated October 15, 2018. We compared the online report to the viral clipping and found that it was the same news story, considering the reporter’s name (Tushar Tere); the scientist, Karan Jani; the place, Atlanta; and the organisers, Shri Shakti Mandir.
Taking a cue from this, we ran keyword searches for “Garba Karan Jani”, which threw up multiple news reports, including NDTV, Hindustan Times, Indian Express, India Today, all of them dated October 15, 2018, on the incident.
According to the news reports, an astrophysicist from Vadodara, Gujarat, Dr Karan Jani, said he and his friends were denied entry at a garba event in Atlanta. The scientist and his friends, who had gone to celebrate Navratri, were allegedly told by the organisers that they don’t “look Hindu” and that their last names don’t “sound Hindu”. The reports said that Jani took to Twitter to post a detailed thread about the incident, including a video. “Year 2018 and Shakti Mandir in Atlanta, USA denied me and my friends entry from playing garba because: ‘You dont look Hindu and last name in your IDs dont sound Hindu’,” he said on Twitter.
The archived version of the tweet can be seen here.
The thread was posted on October 13, 2018, confirming that the newspaper clipping was of a four-year-old incident.
Viral newspaper clipping of Gujarati scientist thrown out of a US garba venue, although true, was of a 2018 incident.
Result: Missing context
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