An image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Lakshmanrao Inamdar, his mentor in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), is being shared on social media with the false claim that the man beside Modi is social activist, Kisan Baburao Hazare, popularly known as Anna Hazare.
The claim, along with the image, insinuates that the duo share an old friendship and goes on to state that this explains why Hazare has been silent on the ongoing farmers’ protest in the country.
The image has been widely shared on social media with the caption,
“याराना बहुत पुराना है.... नहीं समझे?...तो समझ लो यह तस्वीर बताती है अन्ना हजारे आजकल चुपचाप क्यों बैठा है अन्ना तुम देश में फैली अफरा-तफरी और हर मुसीबत के लिए एकमात्र जिम्मेवार हो देश तुम्हें कभी माफ नहीं करेगा”
(Translation: “The friendship is very old... don't understand? So understand, this picture tells why Anna Hazare is sitting quietly nowadays. Anna, you are the one responsible for all the trouble in the country. The nation will never forgive you.”)
The image shared by a user on Facebook had over 1,300 shares at the time of writing this article.
The claim has been around since 2016.
WHAT WE FOUND OUT
A reverse image search led us to an article, ‘The man behind Modi: Lakshmanrao Inamdar’ by India Today, carrying the image.
The article states that the image shows Modi with Inamdar shortly before the latter’s death in 1984. Inamdar, also known as Vakil Saheb, was a mentor to Modi during his time with the RSS.
An article on The Economic Times also carries the image, copyrighted to Bennett Coleman and Company Limited, identifying the men the image as Modi and Inamdar.
Further, the claim that Hazare has been silent on the farmers’ protest is also false.
On 14 December, Hazare expressed solidarity with the farmers agitating against the farm laws, and wrote a letter to Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, saying he will start a hunger strike once again if demands for implementation of the Minimum Support Price (MSP) and recommendations of the MS Swaminathan Commission, like an autonomous Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices, are not met.
Hazare had reportedly stated on 28 December, that he has given the Centre time till end of January to meet the farmers’ demands, after which he will resume his hunger strike.
Evidently, the man beside Modi in the viral image has been misidentified as Anna Hazare to make false claims.