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HAL parody website takes on defence minister’s remarks

India’s state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in Bangalore was caught in between its own minister and its proxy defender, a fake website, amidst the ongoing brouhaha over the capabilities of the Bangalore-HQ defence establishment.

When Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman publicly humiliated the defence organisation HAL for not having capabilities to manufacture 126 Rafale combat aircraft, all the defence establishments run by the ministry were stunned. Never did a defence minister bring them into the public glare for failure in the past.

Soon, an unofficial HAL twitter account began to stream in defence of HAL and interestingly, it summed up all that HAL can do as of today. Here’s the tweet:

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited ✈ 🚁Unofficial 🚁✈
@HAL_India
"Those who are saying that HAL is not capable of producing Rafale jets should know what we at HAL have produced
✈ MiG-21
✈ MiG-27
✈ Jaguar
✈ Hawk
✈ Sukhoi-30
✈ Dornier 228

V hv also produced
🚁 Light combat helicopter
🚁 Light utility helicopter
🚁 Chetak
🚁 Dhruv
🚁 Rudra"

Posted on September 18 at 10:45 pm, the tweet has gone viral on social media though many viewers initially thought that it was HAL’s reply. Some Twitter users have retweeted it saying that HAL has ‘given a befitting reply to Nirmala Sitharaman’. Soon, the unofficial feature was highlighted by some netizens and hence the clarification that followed:

HAL
@HALHQBLR
It has come to our notice that Twitter handle @HAL_India impersonates our this official handle @HALHQBLR. A formal complaint has already been lodged with Twitter. All are requested to take a note of this. @DefProdnIndia @drajaykumar_ias @DefenceMinIndia @SpokespersonMoD

Ironic but it was already widely shared on Twitter and Facebook. The official page of the Mumbai Youth Congress shared it on Facebook while the page FekuExpress shared it with 530,000 followers. Another Drunk Journalist page shared it with 145,000 followers. In view of the claims and counter-claims, the unofficial website added "Parody" next to its name to ward off controversy.

While the fake websites are mushrooming, fake social media accounts have been there for long but this time with a purpose. Instead of silencing them, the government should give room to these state-run entities enough freedom to run their own affairs and not interfere or micro-manage them. When official mode fails, unofficial version takes place.

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