Indian media outlet stokes hate with false account of controversial video

Right-wing news portal slips in fabricated reference to PepsiCo India

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Claim: A truck driver who was stopped on Karachi’s University Road for allegedly offending the religious sentiments of Muslims said his vehicle is owned by PepsiCo India.

Fact: The truck in question does not belong to PepsiCo India, nor did the driver say his truck is owned by PepsiCo India. The word ‘India’ was not mentioned by the driver in any other context either.

On 1 January 2022, right-wing Indian news portal OpIndia published a report about an incident that took place in Karachi, Pakistan, when a man stopped a truck seemingly being driven for Pepsi on Karachi’s University Road. The man quarreled with the truck driver, alleging that the QR code on 7UP bottles bears the name of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). 

The report by OpIndia was titled as follows:

“Pakistani man claims QR code on 7UP bottle bears Prophet Muhammad’s name, asks Pepsi to remove it or face dire consequences.”

The story, which OpIndia also shared on its official Facebook account, was replicated by Nigerian website Naijaonpoint News and Jihad Watch, a far-right anti-Muslim blog.

In its report, OpIndia included the following line: “On enquiring, the driver who stood calmly beside the protestor informed that the truck belonged to PepsiCo India.”

Soch Fact Check found the claim to be false. In the video, the driver can be heard saying that he is a salesperson for the company, but not that the truck is owned by PepsiCo India.

According to Imran Noshad Khan, the person who filmed the quarrel and shared it on social media, the truck driver did not mention PepsiCo India, nor did he say his vehicle was owned or operated by PepsiCo India.

Khan told Soch Fact Check via Twitter Direct Message that “the driver just said I am not the owner of this company”. He further quoted the driver as saying, “I am just a driver of Pakistan Beverage Limited.” Pakistan Beverage Limited is a bottling partner of Pepsi-Cola. “He didn’t mention specifically Pepsi India,” Khan added.

Conclusion: The driver of the truck in question can be heard saying in the video that he is a salesman. Imran Noshad Khan, who filmed the incident, said the driver did not mention PepsiCo India. India was never mentioned.

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