Fake videos of Modi aides trigger political showdown in India election

by Admin
Fake videos of Modi aides trigger political showdown in India election

BENGALURU/LUCKNOW: Manipulated videos are taking centre stage as campaigning heats up in India’s election, with fake clips involving two top aides of Prime Minister Narendra Modi triggering police investigations and the arrest of some workers of his rival Congress party.

In what has been dubbed as India’s first AI election, Modi said last week fake voices were being used to purportedly show leaders making “statements that we have never even thought of”, calling it a conspiracy “to create tension in society”.

Indian police – already investigating the spread of fake videos showing Bollywood actors criticising Modi – are now investigating a doctored online clip that showed federal home minister Amit Shah saying the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party will stop certain social guarantees for minorities, a subject sensitive for millions of voters.

Shah retorted on X, posting his “original” and the edited “fake” speech and alleging – without providing any evidence – that the main opposition Congress was behind the video it created to mislead the public. The minister said “directions have been issued to the police to address this issue”.

Indian police arrested at least nine people, including six members of Congress’ social media teams, in the states of Assam, Gujarat, Telangana and New Delhi last week for circulating the fake video, according to police statements.

Five of the Congress workers were released on bail, but the most high-profile arrest made by the cybercrime unit of New Delhi police came on Friday (May 3), when they detained a Congress national social media coordinator, Arun Reddy, for sharing the video. New Delhi is one region where Shah’s ministry directly controls police. Reddy has been sent into three-day custody.

The arrest has sparked protests from Congress workers with many posting on X using the #ReleaseArunReddy tag. Congress lawmaker Manickam Tagore said the arrest was an example of “authoritarian misuse of power by the regime”.

Congress’ head of social media, Supriya Shrinate, did not respond to messages and an email seeking comment.

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