Fact Check: No, These Photos Do Not Show BJP Supporters Protesting in Bengal
One of the photos shows a BJP protest in Jharkhand, while another seems to have been taken in Uttar Pradesh.
Two photos have been shared hundreds of times in multiple Facebook posts in May 2019 alongside a claim they show vandalism by BJP workers in West Bengal.
The claim is false; the top photo in the misleading posts has circulated online since at least 2012 in reports about a BJP protest in Jharkhand; the bottom photo contains placards which indicate it was taken in Uttar Pradesh.
The photos were published in a Facebook post uploaded on May 16, 2019.
The post has been shared more than 1,000 times after being published by a page with more than 43,000 followers.
Below is a screenshot of the misleading post:
Screenshot of the misleading post
The caption translates to English as: “These are the innocent workers of the BJP, who are doing a peaceful roadshow in Bengal on the request of their clean image leader Amit Shah.”
Shah was forced to leave an election rally on May 15, 2019, in West Bengal after street battles broke out.
The same photos were published in Facebook posts alongside a similar claim.
The claim is false; the top photo in the misleading posts has circulated online since at least 2012 in reports about a BJP protest in Jharkhand; placards in the second photo indicate it was taken in Uttar Pradesh.
A reverse image search on Google for the top photo in the misleading posts shows the same photo was published by Hindustan Times on May 31, 2012. It is photo number 10 in a slideshow.
Below is a screenshot of the photo:
The caption states: "BJP workers damage a vehicle during Bharat Bandh called to protest against hike in petrol prices in Jamshedpur."
The same protest was documented by The Indian Express in a report published on May 31, 2012.
A journalist in AFP’s Delhi bureau analysed the bottom photo in the misleading posts. Below is a screenshot of that photo with its key identifying features highlighted:
Box A shows a hoarding with Hindi text which translates to "Setu Gomti river banks".
The text is referring to Hanuman Setu, an area including a Hindu temple that is located on river Gomti banks in Lucknow.
Box B shows the same hoarding with a photo of the current Uttar Pradesh state deputy chief minister Dinesh Sharma.
Box C shows green and orange BJP flags.
Box D shows a banner which translates to English as “huge protest”.
Through keyword searches for BJP protests in Lucknow, AFP found a report by The Hindu published February 25, 2010. It states that BJP workers demonstrated against inflation at Hanuman Setu in Lucknow on that date.
The same protest was documented by The Indian Express and in a photo published by news agency Reuters.
Below is a comparison of the photo in the misleading post (top) and the Reuters photo (bottom).
AFP has circled the matching orange BJP flags in green. While different men feature in the two images, one man who is clearly the same — with the same white turban and trousers, light brown waistcoat and stick in his right hand —has been circled in red:
Comparison of screenshots of photo in misleading post (top) and Reuters image dated February 25, 2010 (bottom)
The Reuters image has the caption: "Activists from India's main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) throw pieces of bricks towards police during a protest against inflation in the northern Indian city Lucknow February 25, 2010. REUTERS/Pawan Kumar"
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