Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Curious case of ‘United Nations’ NGO appreciating ‘Kingdom of Mamata Banerjee’ for their Covid-19 work. Here is what we know

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— Consider reading the article Curious case of ‘United Nations’ NGO appreciating ‘Kingdom of Mamata Banerjee’ for their Covid-19 work. Here is what we know on OpIndia website —

It was a moment of honour for the West Bengal government that a Japan-based non-profit organization associated with the ‘United Nation’ took notice of their work amid coronavirus pandemic and sent a letter of appreciation to the minister of state, Nirmal Maji. This piece of good news, a moment of pride of West Bengal which hailed ‘kingdom’ of Mamata Banerjee, was shared All India Trinamool Congress on its official Twitter handle.

TMC shared the letter by United Nation World Peace Association Peace Humanitarian Mission and wrote “We are extremely proud to share that the visionary leadership of @MamataOfficial & GoWB’s COVID management has been internationally applauded. @DrNirmalMajhi1 received this appreciation letter from the prestigious UNWPA.”. It was covered by several news portals including Times of India, Deccan Herald and Outlook and many others.

In fact, news agency PTI referred to the UNWPA as a ‘UN-linked NGO’, a claim that was carried by several outlets.

‘UN-linked body’ hails Mamata Banerjee

As usual, no one found the dubious letter hailing Mamata’s ‘kingdom’ weird.

The letter was widely shared by TMC and Mamata fans on social media.

One “Mamataism” (like Islamism, Marxism, etc) was also found celebrating this feat. It appears that the state government is looking at some appreciation for its virus work after having received flak earlier, where it has jailed journalists for criticism.

UNWPA lauds Mamata Banerjee’s kingdom and ‘passed a bow’

As proud Indians, we, too, were extremely thrilled that an Indian state got this recognition. However, there were a few things that were a bit off in the letter. To begin with, why is this NGO writing to ‘Labour Minister’ and not ‘Heath Minister’ or Chief Minister for lauding efforts to curb the Chinese coronavirus. This, especially when Mamata Banerjee is the Chief Minister and Minister-in-charge, Health & Family Welfare Department, Government of West Bengal.

Secondly, the English. Half the sentences don’t make sense, other half are grammatically incorrect. “Men are feckless and trying to set back back in their normalize life,” the letter reads. What does it even mean? The NGO then identifies itself as a ‘well related and well connected” organisation of “United Nation”. Now, UN, the intergovernmental organisation is “United Nations” and not “United Nation”. So one would assume that the NGO would not really get little details like these wrong, right?

“We are the world family gravely effected due to this outbreak and watching helpless human face daily. During this in nut shell human are in frightful situation,” the letter reads which again makes no sense. Firstly of all, it is ‘affected’. Second of all, just what exactly are you trying to say?

The letter explains how through their ‘representative’ they heard about the ‘humanitarian’ chief minister of the state and were aware of the graceful contribution towards the society during the pandemic.

And then, towards the end, the ‘well-connected organisation of United Nation’ claims that it will ‘defiantly’ (definitely?) ‘place out foot step’ in ‘your kingdom’. They also invited Mamata Banerjee to Japan and said they are eagerly awaiting that ‘shine morning’. They also ‘passed a bow’ to Dr Nirmal for the wonderful work in the kingdom.

As one can see, there are multiple issues with the letter other than the fact that it is a badly written/translated copy and that they referred to West Bengal as ‘kingdom’. This, obviously, got us curious. We tried to figure out what exactly is this organisation ‘linked with UN’ and lauding Mamata Banerjee and her ‘kingdom’.

What is ‘UN-linked NGO’ UNWPA

OpIndia team dug through the Internet wearing the Sherlock hat to figure out the drone-boy-esque dubious NGO. This is what we found:

The PTI copy claims that the ‘NGO’ that hailed Mamata Banerjee’s ‘kingdom’ is “a non-profit organisation registered with the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs civil society”.

There were a few main things that caught our eye in the letter. First was the striking resemblance of the logo of this particular organization with the logo of the United Nations. UNWPA’s logo seems to be created by just adding an origami bird and Japanese cherry blossom flowers (because Japanese NGO?) on the top of the United Nations logo.

United Nations logo (left), UNWPA logo (right)

See the uncanny resemblance between the two? Easy to get fooled. (But really, how did an official certificate/letter with that English not raise the red flags?).

Second, the name of the organization has the United Nation and not the United Nations. This small difference in the name often gets unnoticed by anyone who reads the name or sees the acronym of the name of the organization. It is one of the proofs that UNWPA is not directly associated with the said International Organisation.

The website of the organisation does not have any link, registration number, affiliation number or certification that may prove that it is associated with the United Nations (and not United Nation, we don’t know what in the world United Nation is) in any way.

UNWPA website and social media accounts

For any organization that is trying to place its bets on an international level, having a functional website is the utmost important part of the mission as it helps in connecting with the people across the globe. Well, half the links on the website were dead. Like the Twitter address.

UNWPA website Twitter handle

As per the website, the Twitter handle of this ‘NGO’ is @UnitedNationWo1

Twitter account does not exist

So we looked at the Twitter account tagged by TMC officials for this website.

TMC and others had tagged @Unwpa_wpa Twitter account that has 13 followers.

UNWPA has 13 followers

Interestingly, TMC’s post in which they shared the letter of appreciation, tagged the twitter handle of the organization with an error.

The twitter handle of the organization seems to be accessed by someone in the Philippines as a couple of tweets from the handle were personally directed to the airlines and Broadband service provider in the Philippines.

UNWPA has ‘important works to do’

This tweet to telecom company in Philippines says how the person handling social media had ‘important works to do’. Like appreciating ‘kingdoms’ perhaps.

Moving on, when we clicked on the link of Facebook page mentioned on the website, the first thing we noticed was a different URL (unitednationsworldpeaceassociation.jp) for the organization mentioned on the Facebook Page. The Facebook page has less than 700 followers.

Facebook account with less than 700 likes

Now this link on Facebook opens a completely different website in Japanese.

Japanese website from Facebook page

So in a ‘nut shell’, website mentioned on ‘letter’ leads to one website, which leads to a non-existent Twitter page. The Facebook link in the same website mentions a completely different website as official website. Just make up your mind!

This ‘NGO’ also has a Facebook ‘profile’ – through which it adds ‘friends’ in the list.

Facebook profile of the ‘organisation’

Amusingly, the profile has more ‘friends’ than the ‘likes’ the Facebook page has.

India Ambassador H. E. Pinky Dutta

On the website mentioned in the letter to West Bengal government, there is one section wherein they mention their ‘ambassadors’ to various countries.

India’s ambassador is one Her Excellency Pinky Dutta.

Pinky Dutta on Website

Of course, we got curious about H. E. Pinky Dutta. When we looked her up we found her Facebook profile, where she identifies herself as “Priya Dutta”.

Priya Dutta Facebook profile

Priya Dutta alias Pinky Dutta identifies herself as a freelance journalist and also various other things.

Dutta has been critical of the central government and had recently put up a post criticising the Ram Mandir Bhoomi Pujan in Ayodhya.

Priya Dutta being critical of Ram Mandir Bhumi Pujan

She also believes that the BJP opposed the Independence movement of India.

Priya Dutta on Independence Day

When Home Minister Amit Shah tested positive for coronavirus, Dutta had taken to Facebook to claim that it is ‘Ram Leela’.

In May this year, she had given a talk at a TMC event. “Popular human rights worker respected Priya Dutta will be live at 11 on 19th May,” the banner read.

Pinky Dutta’s Facebook post

This is Priya Dutta alias Pinky Dutta, Ambassador of the dubious ‘organisation’ that has awarded the ‘Kingdom’ of Mamata Banerjee.

Which brings us back to the letter. Is it genuine? Did Mamata Banerjee govt really won the ‘prestigious’ award?

Did Mamata Banerjee govt get any award from ‘UN-linked NGO’ for Coronavirus

Here’s the twist.

Yes and no. Let us explain.

OpIndia reached out to the UNWPA to enquire whether such a letter was issued.

Letter denying.

At around 4:30 AM, UNWPA replied stating that the letter shared by AITC and subsequently reported widely in media is fake.

However, here’s the twist.

Two hours later said they wrote the letter

Little over two hours later, the organisation replied again. This time claiming that while they (in Japan) did not write the letter, the India office, possibly run by H. E. Pinky Dutta alias Priya Dutta might have issued the same.

To conclude, yes, Mamata Banerjee’s ‘kingdom’ did get a ‘certificate’ hailing efforts in coronavirus containment. However, the poorly written letter was not issued by the Japan organisation but by its India representative, Her Excellency Pinky Dutta alias Priya Dutta who is anti-Modi and quite pro-Mamata Banerjee. Also, the organisation is not linked to the United Nations as it is made to believe.

Note: This article is co-authored by Anurag and Nirwa Mehta.

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