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FACT CHECK: Man passed off as ‘bhakt’ for waving Indian flag at Capitol Hill found to be Shashi Tharoor fan

Author: Times Fact Check
Publication: The Times of India
Date: January 8, 2021
URL:   https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/times-fact-check/news/fact-check-man-passed-off-as-bhakt-for-waving-indian-flag-at-capitol-hill-found-to-be-shashi-tharoor-fan/articleshow/80168950.cms

One of the men who waved Indian flag at the Capitol Hill siege by pro-Trump mob on Wednesday, has been passed off as 'bhakt' (a pejorative term used by anti-BJP people to describe those who support Prime Minister Narendra Modi) by a section of social media users.

A Twitter handle by the name of ‘Hindutva Watch’ put out three images, two of which showed the same guy with Indian flag apparently posing outside Capitol Hill, and the third image showed a man waving both the saffron flag and the US flag.

The tweet elicited a lot of responses, with many passing off the men in the pictures as ‘bhakts’.
I can safely say these people are Modi bhakts too https://t.co/XWoCJqAbDx

— Abhinaw Khatiwara (@hueren_abhi) 1610070845000



Another user described the men as ‘bloody casteist Indians’, ‘brahmin savarana casteists’, ‘wannabe whites’, etc.


One user referred to the men as ‘ Hindutva rioters’


An handle by the name of India Resists, referred to the men holding Indian and saffron flag as ‘ RSS thugs’



One of the men common in the first two images, holding Indian flag, has been identified as Vincent Xavier, a roman catholic and not Hindu. He is a hardcore fan of Congress leader Shashi Tharoor and a consistent Modi critic.

The third image is from August 5 last year when a man celebrated Ayodhya Ram Mandir bhoomi pujan by waving saffron flag outside US Capitol.


Xavier tweeted a set of images clicked at Capitol Hill on Wednesday, where we can see Indian flag.


Vincent Xavier @VincentPXavier

@ShashiTharoor @varungandhi80
American patriots - Vietnamese, Indian, Korean & Iranian origins, & from so many other nations & races, who believe massive voter fraud has happened joined rally yesterday in solidarity with Trump. Peaceful protestors who were exercising our rights!

Jan 8, 2021

He stated that people from different nations & races, who believe massive voter fraud has happened, joined the rally on Wednesday in solidarity with Trump.

In now deleted Facebook posts, Xavier posted several photos from his march to Capitol Hill.


Here are the screengrabs of the same tweeted by an alert Twitter user.


One can clearly infer from these that one of the men passed off as ‘bhakt’ for waving Indian flag and Xavier, is the same person.

Xavier describes himself as ‘a practicing Roman Catholic Syrian Christian’, therefore definitely not a 'Hindu' and by extension not a 'bhakt'.


Digging further, we found several of his posts, where he seems to be an ardent fan of Congress MP Tharoor.


Vincent Xavier @VincentPXavier

I am overjoyed at Shashi Tharoor's victory!

May 16, 2009

Vincent Xavier @VincentPXavier

Had dinner with Dr. Shashi Tharoor at Otello Restaurent in Washington DC http://fb.me/7a9Y3XYXO

Apr 11, 2015

On April 11, 2015, he even posted an image of him having lunch with Tharoor in Washington DC.

He regularly criticizes PM Modi on Twitter.


Vincent Xavier @VincentPXavier

Demonetization fiasco and now this. Modi definitely need better advisers to make this an Indian Century. Snake... http://fb.me/3nNEKfuCj

Jan 5, 2017

He is even critical of the Hindu right-wing in the BJP.

Vincent Xavier @VincentPXavier

Modi failed to forcefully disown the religious right in his party that is talking the usual crazy stuff..... http://fb.me/2U92fkrJb

Feb 11, 2015

News portal The Quint did a profiling of Xavier in one of their reports.
Ironically enough, quoting a tweet from BJP’s Varun Gandhi, Tharoor called those waving Indian flags at Capitol Hill to be Indians with the same mentality as the 'Trumpist mob'. He said that Indian flag is a warning to all of us.


Shashi Tharoor @ShashiTharoor

Unfortunately, @varungandhi80, there are some Indians with the same mentality as that Trumpist mob, who enjoy using the flag as a weapon rather than a badge of pride, & denounce all who disagree with them as anti-nationals & traitors. That flag there is a warning to all of us.
Varun Gandhi @varungandhi80

Why is there an Indian flag there??? This is one fight we definitely don’t need to participate in...

Jan 7, 2021


The third image tweeted by Hindutva Watch, where a man can be seen holding a saffron flag, has nothing to do with the Capitol Hill siege. Using reverse-image search, we found that it was published by several news websites like Economic Times and Outlook on August 6, 2020.

The image is captioned as ‘Indian community people take out a tableau on 'Ayodhya's Shri Ram Mandir' around the US Capitol Hill to celebrate the ground breaking occasion of the temple, in Washington’ and credited to news agency PTI.

Times Fact Check has found that one of the men waving Indian flag at the Capitol Hill siege by Trump loyalists has been falsely passed off as bhakt, Hindutva rioter, RSS thug etc by a section of social media. He is in fact found to be a fan of Shashi Tharoor and Modi critic.

It has also been found that an image from Ayodhya Ram Mandir bhoomi pujan celebrations last year in US has been falsely passed off as ‘bhakts’ participating in Capitol Hill siege.

UPDATE: In an earlier version of this story, we had mentioned that Tharoor has deleted his tweet, but the tweet still stands as pointed by him. The same has been added to the story.

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