Old Photos Shared As TMC Using Kolkata Police to Spread Violence
The images are not recent and date back to at least August 2020.
A set of images showing men atop a Kolkata Police van has been revived amid reports of post-poll violence from West Bengal, with the claim that Kolkata Police is providing protection to Trinamool Congress workers.
However, we found that the images are not recent and date back to at least August 2020.
Several social media users shared the image with the claim that “TMC leaders from a particular community” were using Kolkata Police to cause violence.
Several users on Twitter also shared the images with a similar claim and hashtags, ‘Bengal Violence’ and ‘Bengal Burning’, asking for the Home Minister to take cognizance of the situation.
WHAT WE FOUND OUT
We performed a reverse image search on Yandex and came across a tweet from August 2020, carrying both the viral images.
Using a relevant keyword and advanced search on Twitter, we came across another tweet with more pictures. The text on the police van suggests that it belongs to the Narkeldanga Police Station, which is in North Kolkata, near Rajabazar.
We then got in touch with the Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) of Kolkata, IPS Murlidhar Sharma, who rubbished the claims, calling them “frivolous and untrue”.
He also told The Quint’s WebQoof team that the images were taken during a communal clash on 5 August 2020, when the Ram Mandir Bhoomi Pujan had taken place. People from two communities had blocked the road on either ends.
“The images were taken when the Kolkata Police was escorting a local Imam, Sarafat Ibrar, to help resolve the matter and convince those gathered to leave. The men standing on the side of the vehicle were helping clear the crowd and make way for the car to pass through,” Sharma stated.
He added that they had also taken action against the man seen sitting on the bonnet of the vehicle.
A case was registered at the Narkeldanga Police Station under IPC sections 143 for unlawful assembly, 188 for disobedience and 203 for giving false information regarding an offence, along with 51(B) of the Disaster Management Act. Three people were also arrested.
While we have not been able to independently find the original source of the image or a news report on the incident, it is evident that a set of old images has been revived to make false claims about the post-poll violence in West Bengal.
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