Indian president becomes target of fake 'Hindu nation' tweet originally posted as satire

·3 min read

Posts have circulated in Indian Facebook groups that purport to share a tweet from India's newly-elected president Droupadi Murmu declaring she will turn the South Asian country into a "Hindu nation", and take back part of Kashmir under Pakistan's control. Comments on the posts indicated some users thought the tweet was from Murmu's official account. However, online archives show the tweet was originally shared by a parody Twitter account. The Indian government also said the tweet was not shared on the president's official account.

The original tweet was posted on July 20, 2022 by an account bearing Droupadi Murmu's name.

"After becoming the President of India, my first step after becoming the president of India will be to turn the country into a Hindu nation and get back our POK (Pakistan-occupied Kashmir)," the tweet says in Hindi-language.

It had been retweeted more than 1,300 times by July 22 but has since been deleted.

"Murmu Ji has won the hearts of 100 crore Hindus, now India will also become a Hindu nation," the caption alongside the tweet reads in Hindi.

Screenshot of the post with a false claim, taken on July 22, 2022.

Murmu was sworn in as India's president on July 25, making her the first person from one of the country's marginalised tribal communities to serve as head of state, AFP reported.

The Indian presidency is largely ceremonial and the prime minister dictates much of the country's policy.

Comments from some social media users on the post indicated they believed it was genuinely from Murmu.

"Respected President, it was expected from you that you will declare the country a Hindu [nation], this country should be run according to Hindus," one user commented.

"She is the first President who has a devotion to his country and Hindus, who dares to fight for the truth," another said.

The screenshot was also shared alongside a similar claim on Facebook here and here and on Twitter here.

But the misleading posts actually shared a screenshot of a parody account.

Parody account

An archived version of the tweet from @IDraupadMurmu_ indicates the account's display name contained the word "parody" when it was originally posted.

An archive of the @IDraupadMurmu_ Twitter account shows it was originally labelled as "parody". ( AFP / )

It also did not display a blue check mark, which is assigned by Twitter to mark verified accounts.

A version of the account's bio page archived on July 22 also shows that it misspelled "President candidate" as "President condidate".

Another version archived on July 26 shows the account's display name had been changed to include the word "fan". It also indicates in the bio that it is a fan page. The account was still active as of that day and had more than 19,200 followers.

But screenshots of the tweet shared on Facebook -- including here -- do not show the words "parody" or "fan".

A spokesperson for India's Press Information Bureau told AFP the account that posted the tweet was a "fake account" in Murmu's name.

"Droupadi Murmu does not have any official Twitter account in her name," the spokesperson said. "Several fake Twitter profiles have been created in the name of Droupadi Murmu, from which objectionable content is being shared. We will identify and remove them soon."

The Indian government's official Twitter account for the president uses the handle "@rashtrapatibhvn" -- which translates as "presidential house".

The verified account, created in July 2017, bears the name "President of India".

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