Fake news buster: No, Alphons Kannanthanam did not click a selfie at Martyr’s funeral

In this age of social media, collecting information is easier than ever. However, it is also a truth that in this age, differentiating between genuine and fake information has become a tough job. More often than not, people get misled by the fake news that they come across on social media. Something like this, recently happened with Congress spokesperson, Randeep Singh Surjewala.

Congress spokesperson, Randeep Singh Surjewala on Thursday levelled a number of allegations against the ruling BJP. Most of his allegations, were related to the recent terrorist attack on the convoy CRPF at Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama.

Surjewala, from his press conference alleged that Union Minister of State for Culture and Tourism Alphons Kannanthanam took a selfie with the body of a martyr just before his cremation. The Congress leader even flashed a photo, which according to him established that Alphons was taking a selfie.

Alphons, who is from Kerala, had gone to a martyr’s home in Lakkidi, Wayanad, on February 16 to pay last respects. Havildar Vasantha Kumar VV, a CRPF soldier, was killed in the Pulwama attack.

Surjewala, however, was not the first to raise the issue. Even before Congress held the press conference to target the Union minister, Alphons was already getting trolled and criticised on social media due to the said picture.

Interestingly, the picture at the centre of the controversy was first shared on social media, by the official facebook page of Alphons Kannanthanam himself. But as soon as he started getting trolled for it, the picture was taken off.

So what is the truth? Did the Minister really exhibited such lack of sense by click in selfies at the funeral of a brave martyr? Well no, because there’s more to the story than than what Surjewala said.

Alphons, later clarified to media that the picture was not a selfie but a still photograph which was captured by someone else. When asked about why the picture was taken off, if it was not a selfie, Alphons said that the picture was initially shared by the man who manages his social media account but when the person realised that the Minister is getting trolled for it, he deleted the posts without consulting with anyone.

When Alphons became aware of the entire series of events, he directed the administrator of his social media accounts to repost the picture along with a few more photographs from the same spot.

We later searched across the Internet, and came across the original photo of Alphons Kannanthanam. The picture makes it clear that he, in fact was standing away from the camera and someone else clicked the image. The version of the photograph, which Congress party presented as an evidence in the press conference, had one of Alphon’s arms, cropped, making it look like as if he was holding a phone from one hand to capture a selfie.

Alphons even wrote a letter to the Kerala DGP to take appropriate action against those who were circulating this “false news” against him on social media.