Promotional photo used to falsely accuse a clothing brand of promoting ‘love jihad’

A screenshot taken from the clothing brand ‘Karagiri’ website, which shows a couple, was shared with a message that the brand promotes ‘love jihad’. The photo is described on the website as “ADITI MALIK in Ocean Blue Kanjivaram Saree” and to the right of Aditi Malik is a man who has adorned a cap. It was assumed that he was wearing an Islamic cap.

From Twitter account of a ‘Harsha Patel’the image along with a claim targeting the brand received nearly 1,500 retweets.

The image was also shared by a pro-BJP propaganda outlet creatively who later kidnapped him. It was also shared by other users on Twitter. (1 and 2)

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The photo shows a married Hindu couple

The couple in the photo are actors Aditi and Mohit Malik. ‘Karagiri’ depicts a Hindu couple in the promotional photo. Aditi wore a saree from the clothing brand on her god bharai (baby shower) which appeared on the brand website. Aditi had shared a video of the event, where she wears the saree, on her Instagram account.

Mohit had also shared photos from the event where he is seen wearing the cap which was falsely assumed to be an Islamic garment.

However, he actually wears a Maharashtrian cap. Several celebrities have been photographed wearing similar caps (1 and 2). It is also worn during Maharashtrian weddings.

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Aditi uploaded several photos of herself and Mohit on Instagram, including where they are celebrating Karwa Chauth and Ganesh Chaturti.

An anti-Muslim claim was therefore shared on social media that the clothing brand “Karagiri” was promoting the “jihad of love”. This was solely based on the false assumption that Mohit Malik was wearing an Islamic cap when in fact he was adorning a Maharashtrian topi. The viral claim piggybacks on popular anti-Muslim sentiment, which views Hindu-Muslim marriages through a lens of Islamophobia and fosters unfounded fears of conversion.

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Jack C. Nugent