As Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the Lok Sabha in an over hour-long speech on February 6, he attacked the Congress and the Left and spoke about the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act. He also spoke about the revocation of Article 370, which gave Jammu and Kashmir a special status under the Constitution.
During his address, Modi attributed the following quote to former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir Omar Abdullah: “आर्टिकल 370 को हटाना ऐसा भूकंप लाएगा की कश्मीर भारत से अलग हो जायेगा.” The abrogation of Article 370 will bring a massive earthquake that it will divide Kashmir from India.
Abdullah has been under house arrest for the past six months. On Thursday, officials said that their detention had been extended as he and another former chief minister, Mehbooba Mufti, werebooked under the harsh Public Safety Act.
The portion of Modi’s address in which he credits the remarks about the earthquake to Abdullah can be watched below on PMO India’s Youtube channel.
It was also tweeted by the Bharatiya Janata Party from its official handle.
As it turns out, Prime Minister Modi was actually quoting an article from a satirical website Faking News. The website had published the exact quote on May 28, 2014.
Here is a screenshot of the satirical piece.
The day before this satirical piece was published, Abdullah had posted a tweet about Article 370 and the Modi government. The tweet suggested that Jammu and Kashmir would not be a part of India if Article 370 ceases to exist. This is the closest statement by Abdullah Alt News could find compared to Modi’s statement. However, there is no mention of an earthquake. That word appears only in the Faking News article.
A Google search does not throw up any reports in which Abdullah has been quoted making the statement cited by Modi. Furthermore, an advanced search on Twitter in both English and Hindi using keywords from Modi’s claim only throws up references to the Faking News’ article and nothing else.
It is unclear why and how the prime minister quoted a six-year-old satirical piece as genuine news in the Parliament.
“I don’t think he [Omar Abdullah] has ever made this statement,” national spokesperson of National Conference Imran Nabi told Alt News. “It seems that this has been picked up from the satirical website Faking News. The last tweet which was made by him spoke about keeping calm.”
The last tweet that went out from Abdullah’s account has been embedded below. It was shared on August 4.
This article first appeared on Alt News.