A set of four photographs showing injured protesters and police personnel lathi-charging groups of people is being shared on social media platforms, to claim that it shows visuals of the recent student protests that broke out across parts of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
Railway job aspirants took to the streets on Wednesday, 26 January, to protest against the Railway Recruitment Board's (RRB) new two-exam selection process for the Non-Technical Popular Categories (NTPC) section.
The photos show police personnel carrying out a lathi-charge to disperse tens of thousands of people with Basic Teaching Certificates (BTC) degrees, who were protesting in Lucknow against a delay in the issuance of joining letters for the post of assistant teachers.
The set of photos is being shared to claim that they show visuals from student protests against the Railway Recruitment Board's examination, with many posts being shared with the tag 'NTPC Scam'.
WHAT WE FOUND OUT
First, we cropped the photo set to isolate the four images from each other to run reverse image searches on them on Yandex.
One result led us to a tweet by one Pankhuri Pathak, the Vice Chairperson of Social Media, Uttar Pradesh Congress dated 2 November 2018.
The tweet carried two of the four photos seen in the claim.
Sharing the photos, Pathak noted that the photos showed students protesting against the 'BJP government' to fill vacancies for assistant teacher's position, who were attacked by the police.
Using relevant Hindi keywords, we looked for the context of the event. We came across a report by Amar Ujala, published on 2 November 2018, that carried three out of four photos from the claim.
According to the report, 68,500 assistant teacher candidates protested outside the Vidhan Sabha building in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, demanding a reduction in the cutoff for eligibility and prompt appointment of qualified candidates to empty posts.
Protesters surrounded the building in multiple groups, while the police resorted to lathi-charge to disperse the crowd. The act left over a dozen protesters injured, and those with major injuries were admitted to Lucknow's Civil Hospital, the report added.
The search also returned results with a higher quality photo, which carried a watermark that read 'Ashutosh Tripathi'.
Taking a clue from here, we looked for Ashutosh Tripathi's social media accounts. This led us to a photojournalist's Facebook page with the same name.
On looking through the account's timeline, we came across a post from November 2018, which carried all the photos from the claim.
Nine photographs were shared noting that they were from Lucknow, with the hashtag '#68500शिक्षकभर्ती'.
PHOTOGRAPHER CLARIFIED THAT THE PICTURES ARE FROM 2018
We also came across a tweet on Tripathi's Twitter account posted in 2020, when the photographs were being shared with another false claim.
In the tweet, Tripathi clarified that he took the photographs in 2018 and it showed BTC (Basic Teaching Certificate) aspirants.
The Quint has reached out to Tripathi for his comments and we will update the article as and when one is received.
WHAT IS HAPPENING IN UP, BIHAR?
Students aspiring to secure railway jobs took to the streets to protest a new examination format set by the RRB, which requires candidates to give two examinations to be selected.
Around 1.25 crore candidates applied for the exams, which advertised over 35,000 vacancies in the sector. The exams were conducted in seven phases over six months and its results were declared on 14 January 2022.
After the shortlisting process commenced, many aspirants raised concerns, claiming that no second exam had been announced by the RRB when testing began.
The second exam disqualified many candidates who passed the first exam, they claimed.
In the middle of all this, on 24 January, railways issued a fresh notification for the recruitment of one lakh vacancies in Group-D. Following this, aspirants intensified their protests as some protesters stoned and burned passenger trains in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
Clearly, old photos from a 2018 protest by teaching job aspirants are being falsely shared as visuals from the ongoing protests in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.