By: Ankita Kulkarni
September 22 2023
Screenshots of online posts. (Source: X/Screenshots/Modified by Logically Facts)
The image dates back to February 2021, when the Indian diaspora in Canada had held a ‘Tiranga rally’ in Vancouver.
As India-Canada ties hit an all-time low with the two countries expelling each other's senior diplomats, India on September 21 advised its citizens in Canada and those mulling travel to exercise "utmost caution." India has also indefinitely suspended visa services for Canadian citizens.
What is the claim?
Amid this turmoil, a post circulating on X (formerly Twitter) claims Indians are returning from Canada. The post, shared with a picture of several people holding the Indian national flag or Tricolor (Tiranga in Hindi), reads, "Amidst rising tensions between India and Canada over the death of Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijhar, some patriot Indians in Canada opted to return to India (sic)." Nijjar was a Sikh separatist leader who was killed outside Sikh cultural center (gurdwara) in Surrey, British Columbia. On September 18, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau alleged that Indian agencies were potentially involved in Nijjar's killing. This post, which suggested that the people in the viral photo had come back to India, had been viewed over 129,000 times at the time of publishing. An archive of the post can be found here.
Another archived link to a similar post can be viewed here.
Screenshot of a claim made online. (Source: X/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)
However, the image shared to claim Indians are returning from Canada is from 2021 and shows the Indian diaspora at a rally in Vancouver.
What are the facts?
On conducting a reverse image search, we came across the same image shared in a Facebook post by 'Vande Mataram' on February 7, 2021. The post caption read, "Tiranga rally held in Vancouver, Canada." This shows that the image is at least over two years old and has been on the internet even before the current diplomatic row between India and Canada started.
Screenshot of a post shared by the ‘Vande Mataram’ Facebook account. (Source: Facebook/Screenshot)
A post dated February 8, 2021, shared by news agency ANI on X also showed images similar to the viral photo. The accompanying post read: "Canada: Indian diaspora took out a 'Tiranga Yatra rally' in Vancouver from Strawberry Hill in Surrey to Consulate General of India in Vancouver as a display of the bilateral relations between India and Canada." We found several similarities between one of the ANI photos and the viral image. The same people can be spotted in both pictures.
Comparison between the viral image and the ANI photo. (Source: X/ANI/Modified by Logically Facts)
We also found a video report uploaded by English news channel WION on February 8, 2021. The description of the video read, "Indian Diaspora took out a 'Tiranga Yatra rally' from Strawberry Hill in Surrey to Consulate General of India in Vancouver on February 07." Around the 0:47 mark, we saw a man in a black jacket wearing a black mask and a red thread on his wrist holding the Indian national flag. Around the 0:53 timestamp, we spotted a person wearing a red jacket and blue mask, and at the 0:55 mark, we saw a woman donning a brown jacket and a black cap. All these individuals are visible in the viral photo as well.
Screenshots from WION video report showing individuals seen in the viral image. (Source: WION/Screenshot)
The Times of India had also published a video report on February 7, 2021, mentioning that the Indian diaspora held a car rally under the name 'Tiranga Rally' on February 6, 2021, in response to the violence that occurred in India's national capital, New Delhi on January 26, 2021 – India's Republic Day.
Two years ago, a protest by Indian farmers had taken a violent turn when a group of protesters stormed New Delhi's Red Fort on Republic Day and hoisted the Nishan Sahib – Sikh religious flag, on the monument.
An image from a rally held by the Indian diaspora in Canada in 2021 has been falsely shared as Indians returning from Canada amid the current diplomatic standoff. Therefore, we mark the claim false.