Ever since the arrest of Disha Ravi by Delhi police in connection to the controversial Greta toolkit case, there have been a lot of controversies. One that was fuelled and spread like wildfire on social media, sparking a communal rivalry, was of Disha Ravi's religion. Many verified handles on Twitter and several users on Facebook also claimed that the 21-year-old climate activist's full name to be Disha Ravi Joseph and that she's a Christian.
Several Twitter put out tweets calling out Ravi's religion and bringing up a communal angle into the farmers' protest and the leaked toolkit. Many users who claimed Disha Ravi's full name was Disha Ravi Joseph and her religion is Christianity had verified Twitter handles and a strong following.
For instance, BJP members Geetha Kothapalli and Prajwal Busta also shared the claim about Disha Ravi's name and religion. Indian Film & Television Directors' Association Ashoke Pandit and Supreme Court advocate Prashant Patel Umrao also shared the same claim, saying "Disha Ravi Joseph is a Syrian Christian from Kerala. Members of this community always at the forefront of Breaking India movements!" But the tweet was later deleted, not before many users shared screenshots.
Several other Twitter handles, including @SaffronSunanda, The Pioneer's editor Pramod Kumar Singh and Asianet News CEO Abhinav Khare were among many who shared the viral claim.
After the claim about Disha Ravi's name and religion went viral on social media, International Business Times reviewed the information. TNM reached did a fact-check of the very claim, debunking the misinformation about the climate activist. Citing a lawyer and a close friend of Disha's family, Prasanna R, the report clarified that the activist's name is Disha Annappa Ravi and not Disha Ravi Joseph.
"Her mother's name is Manjula Nanjaiah, father is Ravi. They are from Tiptur in Tumkur district of Karnataka," the lawyer was quoted as saying. But lashing out at the trend, Prasanna said: "Disha's religious identity does not matter here. How is it relevant if she is Christian or Hindu? She is a nature lover and had friends from all over. She has not followed any religion though she was brought up in a Lingayat household. It is unfortunate that we have to debunk this cooked up religious identity that is being used to spread hatred further."
Several friends of Disha and people who knew her personally reiterated that the claims are false.
Based on all the evidence, International Business Times has arrived at the conclusion that claims about Disha Ravi's name and religion are all false and she belongs to Hindu community and her full name isn't Disha Ravi Joseph.