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Jaaved Jaaferi. Image Credit: Supplied

“At a time when the world is talking about uniting for humanity, how can one think of spreading fake news and communal hatred?”

This was Bollywood actor Jaaved Jaaferi’s question, in a video he posted today, as he called out some Indian Twitter users who were actively spreading fake news on social media and promoting religious discord in India, especially during the coronavirus pandemic.

On his official Twitter account @jaavedjaaferi posted a video message with the caption: “I normally don’t post personal videos inspite of being trolled often, but had to now. In a time when humanity is faced with a pandemic and race, religion, colour, country are no concern, some Indians are still indulging in #FakeNews #HinduMuslim #HateMongering. We need love not hate.”

The 56-year-old Dhamaal actor was recently dragged into a social media controversy, wherein a Facebook user named Arvind Patel had posted a tweet that was purportedly written by Jaaferi. The fake tweet that showed Jaaferi alleging that Hindus are spreading hatred.

In his video, Jaaferi explained where the fake tweet originated from, naming some of the troll brigade spreading fake news.

He also said that he would legally pursue action against Arvind Patel who had initiated the fake news. Jaaferi added: “Since our Prime Minister has said that people who promote fake news should be punished, I will ensure I pursue legal action and see it though.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday had taken to Twitter calling for unity and brotherhood in dealing with the threat posed by the coronavirus.

His tweet read: “ COVID-19 does not see race, religion, colour, caste, creed, language or borders before striking. Our response and conduct thereafter should attach primacy to unity and brotherhood. We are in this together.”

But, this does not seem to have stopped right-wing extremists from using social media to promote communal disharmony in the country.

Tweeps retweeted Jaaferi’s video in agreement. Like many, Twitter user @sanjay4080 said it was high time fake news promoters were held accountable and penalised: “A very right step taken by you. This kind of inhumane [people] should be penalised.”

Tweep @GenderCrusader also responded to the tweet: “Thank you for raising the cause @jaavedjaaferi! It's really sad to see how the crucial time is being misused to spread #FakeNews and #Misinformation.”

This video immediately caught the attention of B-Town celebs, such as Suniel Shetty, Harshvardhan Rane, Nikita Dutta, Karanvir Bohra and more, who are hailing Jaaved to speaking out the truth in these dire times.

Independent Indian news website thelogicalindian.com reported that, recently, Jaaved Jaaferi has been tweeting a lot of fact checks surrounding the barrage of fake news that spiked up on social media following the Tablighi Jamaat incident. This could be a possible reason behind the fake graphic.