Sinister campaign: Pak-based groups spread conspiracy theories on Gen Bipin Rawat's death

WION Web Team
NEW DELHIUpdated: Dec 16, 2021, 04:12 PM IST
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Image from the crash site (left) and General Bipin Rawat. Photograph:(Agencies)

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Numerous social media users backed by Pakistani disinformation networks have begun to attribute the crash to an insurgent strike, internal sabotage, or even a communal attack.

The sudden deaths of prominent military people around the world have always sparked conspiracy theories, and the demise of India's first Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat is no exception. 

Following the Mi-17 helicopter crash near Coonoor in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, which killed Rawat, his wife, and 12 other passengers, several conspiracy theories are spreading on social media.

According to aviation experts and sources, bad weather and "controlled flying into terrain" may have been the causes of the incident, and a tri-service probe is currently on.

But numerous Pakistani disinformation networks have begun a sinister social media campaign to attribute the crash to an insurgent strike, internal sabotage, or even a communal attack.

None of the allegations have been backed up by any serious evidence. 

Logically, a tech company of counter-disinformation analysts, revealed in a report that some Pakistani Twitter accounts have reinforced versions of these conspiracy ideas.

Among the most common is the assertion that the chopper was shot down by "Tamil rebels," a phrase used to refer to the the long-defunct Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a Sri Lankan rebel group that has been dormant since its defeat by the Sri Lankan forces in 2009.

This theory, along with many others, has been largely driven by Pakistani accounts, presumably to capitalise on the presence of pro-Tamil Eelam sympathisers in Tamil Nadu. 

The Pakistan Strategic Forum, a blog that claims to be a think tank, was one of them, claiming that Tamil rebels were to blame for the chopper accident.

Tamil Rebels

The post was eventually withdrawn, and the Tamil Nadu Crime Branch Central Investigation Department filed a case against this Twitter handle.

Tamil Rebels

On December 14, the self-proclaimed think-tank released a 7-minute video with yet another conspiracy theory claiming the crash was caused by an inside job.

Tamil Rebels

Some Pakistani Twitter accounts were ecstatic, reassuring Kashmiri terrorists that Tamil rebels and Khalistanis will soon come to their aid.

Tamil Rebels

(With inputs from agencies)