The head of the media department and a spokesperson of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Delhi unit shared an image of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) minister Kailash Gahlot, addressing civil defence volunteers, with the claim that the volunteers were neither wearing masks nor following social distancing measures.
However, we found that photograph was from October 2019, much before the coronavirus pandemic spread across the world.
The head of media department for Delhi BJP, Naveen Kumar, shared the photo with a caption that read, “दिल्ली सरकार के मंत्री @kgahlot जी कम से कम सिविल डिफेन्स के बच्चों के चेहरे पर मास्क तो लगवा देते #COVID19 को बिलकुल हलके में ले रखा हैं आपने तो ,न तो कोई सोशल डिस्टेंस हैं न किसी के चेहरे पर मास्क हैं | 2000 रु का चालान क्या सिर्फ आम जनता को परेशान करने के लिए हैं क्या..?@ANI”
[Translation: Respected Delhi government minister @kgahlot, at least ask the civil defence volunteers to put masks on their faces. You have taken COVID-19 lightly. Neither are the children wearing a mask nor are they following the norm of social distancing. Is the Rs 2000 fine only to harass the general public?]
The same photos were also tweeted by Khemchand Sharma, a spokesperson for Delhi BJP and a member of BJP's national IT/SM campaign committee for 2019.
WHAT WE FOUND OUT
When we conducted a reverse image search of the photos, we found the original tweet with the same images posted by Gahlot on 28 October 2019, much before the pandemic started.
The photos were caption, “Historic Day for Delhi. With Hon’ble CM @ArvindKejriwal inaugurated the Training & Orientation of Newly Inducted Bus Marshals in DTC & Cluster Buses & announced for Free Travel for Women in buses from 29.10.19. This is the first of its kind model of Bus Marshals in the world.”
We also looked at Gahlot’s Twitter profile and found those photos tweeted by him on 5 December 2020, on the occasion of International Volunteers Day.
Evidently, old photos from 2019 were shared to falsely claim that AAP minister Kailash Gahlot addressed a gathering of civil defence volunteers who were not wearing masks during the coronavirus pandemic.