Old Image From US Goes Viral as PM Modi’s West Bengal Rally
An old image from US is being circulated as protests in West Bengal
An old image from US is being circulated as protests in West Bengal(Photo: Altered by The Quint)

Old Image From US Goes Viral as PM Modi’s West Bengal Rally

The general elections are round the corner and it’s the season of political rallies. Quite naturally then, the digital space too is abuzz with contending claims and in the process, The Quint has identified at least one post which is misleading.

CLAIM

A post which was put up by a Facebook page Laughing Colours showed a huge swarm of people with the caption ‘Surgical Strike By Modi In West Bengal’. The post also carried an inset image of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

The post has since been removed from the Facebook page but The Quint has access to a screenshot of the post

Screenshot of Laughing Colour’s post
Screenshot of Laughing Colour’s post
(Photo Courtesy: Facebook)

While the post does not say anything explicitly, its composition and the caption suggests that people in huge numbers assembled in West Bengal in support of PM Modi.

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The Quint got in touch with Rakesh Sharma, the Managing Director of Laughing Colours both before and after the post was taken down. Initially he said that the picture is from ‘Modi’s rally in Kolkata’.

“I checked with my team. This image is from Modi’s recent rally in Kolkata,” Sharma said.

Later, after the post was removed he said, “We took down the post because some fools were calling it fake news. The crowd is not from the rally but the post is a meme and in humuorous posts, images are often sourced from various places. We are non-political but are getting caught in the cross-firing between left and right,” he clarified.

TRUE OR FALSE

False. Since the image used in the post is an old one and is not from Kolkata, or even from anywhere in India.

WHAT WE FOUND OUT

At the time of writing this article, the post was enjoying huge traction, having been shared more than 4,800 times.

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However, a reverse image search on Google revealed what was wrong with the post. The crowd shown in the post had assembled in Washington DC on 24 March 2018 for the March for Our Lives protest.

An article on Mashable India, reporting the protest, carries the exact same image.

An article by The Guardian reports that people had gathered in Washington to call for tighter gun laws following a massacre at a high school in Parkland, Florida where a teen opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle, killing 17 students.

The claim made by Laughing Colours regarding the source of the image is flawed on multiple levels. Modi has not addressed a rally in Kolkata recently, as claimed by Rakesh Sharma. The prime minister recently held two rallies in West Bengal on 2 February – at Durgapur and Thakurnagar.

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The post comes across as more of a surprise because Laughing Colours is a verified page. Also, most of the other posts on the page are of a non-political nature.

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