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No, the Axe Insignia on Army Tanks Wasn't Added After 2014

The symbol is the Indian Army's Battle Axe Division's insignia and has predated the BJP government.

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No, the Axe Insignia on Army Tanks Wasn't Added After 2014
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A photograph of a tank from the Republic Day Parade in Delhi is being shared on social media, where users have highlighted a golden battle axe insignia on the tank's surface. The photograph is being shared to claim that the Modi government is giving Hinduism recognition on every front, as the insignia depicts Parshurama's axe.

In Hinduism, Parshurama is considered to be one of Lord Vishnu's incarnations. In to Hindu scriptures, he is referred to as a warrior saint who wields a battle axe, which is also called 'Parashu.'

However, we found that the insignia is of the 12th Infantry Division, or the Battle Axe division of the Indian Army. A golden battle axe emblazoned on a black background has been the division's symbol since at least 2013, as we spotted the same in a video of the 2013 Republic Day parade.

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CLAIM

The photograph highlighting the symbol on the tank's external surface was shared with the following Hindi text -

"भारत के युद्ध टेंक #अर्जुन_टैंक पर भगवान #परशुराम का शस्त्र #फरसा। ये दिखाता है कि मोदी सरकार हर स्तर पर भारत को सनातन मय करने में लगी है।जय परशुराम।(sic)"

[Translation: Lord Parshuram's weapon on Indian Army's 'Arjun' battle tank. This shows that the Modi government is busy promoting Sanatan (Hinduism) on every level. Glory to Parshuram.]

An archived versionof this claim can be seen here.

(Source: Facebook/Screenshot)

Archived versions of more such claims can be seen here, here and here.

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WHAT WE FOUND OUT

First, we looked up 'Indian Army golden axe', which led us to a press release published by the Press Information Bureau (PIB) on 27 September 2021, which referred to the Battle Axe Division (12 RAPID) of the Indian Army.

The press release noted an interaction between Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and Army personnel.

(Source: PIB/Altered by The Quint)

Looking for the division's name on the Indian Army's verified Facebook page led us to photographs of various events. Two such posts from 2018 and 2019 show the insignia on banners with the division's name.

(Note: Swipe right to view both images)

  • <div class="paragraphs"><p>Photos on the Army's Facebook page show the same symbol.</p></div>

    Photos on the Army's Facebook page show the same symbol.

    (Source: Facebook/Altered by The Quint)

  • <div class="paragraphs"><p>Photos on the Army's Facebook page show the same symbol.</p></div>

    Photos on the Army's Facebook page show the same symbol.

    (Source: Facebook/Altered by The Quint)

We then looked for the symbol in media predating 2014. Going through the full video of the Republic Day Parade in 2013, on Doordarshan National's YouTube channel, we spotted the symbol on two consecutive tanks around 15-minutes-52-seconds into the video.

  • 01/02

    The symbol was seen in the 2013 Republic Day Parade video.

    (Source: YouTube/Altered by The Quint)

    <div class="paragraphs"><p>The symbol was seen in the 2013 Republic Day Parade video.</p></div>
  • 02/02

    Two consecutive tanks bore the same symbol.

    (Source: YouTube/Altered by The Quint)

    <div class="paragraphs"><p>Two consecutive tanks bore the same symbol.</p></div>

We also found a clearer version of the insignia on former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's Facebook profile, uploaded on 26 January 2013.

The same symbol was seen in 2013.

(Source: Facebook/Altered by The Quint)

Clearly, the symbol is the insignia of the Indian Army's Battle Axe Division and has predated the BJP government. The claim of the Modi government promoting Hinduism by showing Parshuram's axe on military tanks is false.

(Not convinced of a post or information you came across online and want it verified? Send us the details on WhatsApp at 9643651818, or e-mail it to us at webqoof@thequint.com and we'll fact-check it for you. You can also read all our fact-checked stories here.)

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Topics:  Indian Army   Modi Government   Hinduism 

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