Even as IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was released by Pakistan on 1 March, a video claiming to be of the AIF pilot’s wife started going viral on Twitter and Facebook. In the minute-long video, the unnamed woman can be seen requesting the government to stop “politicising” the matter and “not take credits of the soldier.”
The woman begins saying, “Hello everyone, I am the wife of an army officer. I would request our fellow Indians and political leaders not to politicise the sacrifice of our soldiers. It takes so much to be a soldier, and imagine the kind of tension and pain the family of Abhinandan is going through right now.”
In the concluding part, she adds:
“Till the time tension eases at the India-Pakistan border, stop your political rallies and don’t you dare snatch away the credits of our soldiers. Please, stop counting your tickets... at the cost of sacrifice of our soldiers. It’s a request to all political leaders... especially, the BJP.”
As the video spread like wild fire, video captions such as “#Abhinandan’s wife talks about dirty politics of BJP and other parties; please stop criticising each other and #BringBackAbhinandan” were used.
The video was even shared by online youth magazine, Yuva Desh.
TRUE OR FALSE?
After assessing the video, The Quint can ascertain that the woman in the video is not the wife of Wing Commander Abhinandan.
Firstly, the woman in the video identifies herself as “the wife of an army officer” and not specifying herself as the wife of Wing Commander Abhinandan. Later in the video, the unnamed woman refers to the pilot’s family in third person, in apparent gesture that she is not related to the pilot’s family.
Further, persons known to Abhinandan's family also confirmed to The Quint that the woman in the video is not the IAF pilot's wife.
SO WHO IS THE WOMAN IN THE VIDEO?
While also looking at the same video with other keywords, The Quint found one video pointing out that the woman in the video is ‘Sirisha Rao’.
Taking this as a cue, The Quint ran a search on Facebook for Sirisha Rao, and gathered that she is also a volunteer with AAP Haryana. Eventually, we also found the original video on Rao’s Twitter profile.
The Quint also cross-checked actual photos of Abhinandan’s family available on social media. Through that It can be ascertained that the woman in the video is not his wife.
Meanwhile, the false claims of the woman being Abhinandan’s wife were also pointed out by social media users.
The official BJP handle too called out Yuva Desh for having posted the video and claiming that the woman in the video was Abhinandan’s wife.
Just when you think Rahul Gandhi’s Congress can’t stoop lower, they breach their own record.— BJP (@BJP4India) March 1, 2019
Faking a video by the name of braveheart Abhinandan’s wife for political propaganda is beyond even shameful. pic.twitter.com/prBObMMk0p
She is not Abhinandan's wife. Please you Pakistani don't spread rumors.— Dhana Kumar (@dhanakrOfficial) March 1, 2019
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