IANS Peddles Fake News About Al Qaeda Urging Muslims To Wage Jihad Against India?

Swarajya magazine yesterday published news that Yemen’s Al Qaeda in Arab Peninsula (AQAP) on Monday urged Indian Muslims to join the Islamist jihad. The story was sourced from IANS (Indo-Asian News Service) which claims to be India’s Largest Independent News Service.

Swarajya was the first portal/publication to report this news. The news source mentioned in the report was a tweet posted by Aarti Tikoo Singh (@AartiTikoo) who is editor at IANS (@ians_india) on May 4, 2020 at 5:41 PM.

Now how Aarti Tikoo Singh gets the piece of paper whose picture is posted in her tweet? Upon searching for more information, we came across another twitter handle @Natsecjeff who posted these pictures on 6:18 AM May 3, 2020.

The interesting part is that Aarti Tikoo Singh follows @Natsecjeff on twitter and vice versa.

So we can safely assume that IANS might have sourced this piece of news from @Natsecjeff as no other credible news agencies apart from IANS have reported this story in India or abroad.

When we did image search via Google image search, the only results that show up are of twitter posts which have been posted after the IANS report was published through Swarajya magazine.

The 3 page document in Arabic language is the only source used by all media portals/publications including India’s most circulated English newspaper Times of India. The document seems to be from single source @Natsecjeff which neither has any credibility nor associated to any media company if we go by timeline.

When we dug deep to find out the person behind @Natsecjeff, it revealed that his name is Faran Jeffery who proclaims to be a neutral observer and is the Deputy Director of Head of South Asia desk on terrorism at Islamic Theology of Counter Terrorism (ITCT), again an organization lacking the credibility or credentials to its name.

While searching for more information, we came across an interesting twitter thread, where a twitter user ‘Strategic Spaminder Bharti’ (@attomeybharti) who is also followed by our Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote, “Saying this again, STOP RETWEETING THAT NATSECJEFF HANDLE!! He’s a fraud and all his tweets start with “unconfirmed reports” or “sources say”. He’s just trying to create hysteria.”

“That guy used to work at some local coaching institute in Karachi around 2011-12. Now he’s suddenly a security expert. His LinkedIn profile mentions 8-9 degrees from multiple universities across the world!!! Isko humare logo ne sir pe chadha rakha hai. ?” (Our people have given him too much importance.)

“Syed Farhan Jaffri” se “Faran Jeffery” ban gaya aur random degrees add kar di LinkedIn pe. (He became Faran Jeffery from Syed Farhan Jaffri and added some random degrees to his LinkedIn profile.)

Recently, The News Agency’s erroneous misleading tweet about residents of “sector 5 in Harola, Noida, who came in contact with Tablighi Jamat members have been quarantined” found it’s way into several news outlets.

This claim was however debunked by DCP Noida’s official twitter handle. The DCP clarified that those people who might have come in contact with the infected individuals were quarantined as per the normal procedure.

Earlier, IANS Published a fake news story on 12 October, 2017 claiming that the Nagaland police’s intelligence branch has warned against a possible attack by Rohingya refugees quoting unnamed “intelligence sources”. The story has been taken down after it was found to be fake news.