Old, unrelated images shared in connection with recent violence in Haryana

By: Rajini KG
August 1 2023

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Old, unrelated images shared in connection with recent violence in Haryana


The Verdict Misleading

The images predate the emergence of the recent clashes in Nuh and Gurugram districts of Haryana in India.

Claim ID 854209d8


Five people were killed and several people injured after violence erupted in Nuh district of the north Indian state of Haryana over an attempt by a mob to stop a procession by right-wing groups on Monday. As reports of the clashes in Nuh started pouring in, arson soon spread to the neighboring district of Gurugram.

As the Haryana authorities try to restore law and order in the state, several social media users have been quick to link old and unrelated visuals to the recent clashes. One such user shared a set of four photos—one of a police official in riot gear looking at burning wreckage on the road; a second picture of an overturned car on fire; the third image of a group of policemen in riot gear assembled in a town square with stones strewn on the road; and the fourth picture shows a police official hitting a man with a stick as two other officials surround him—in a communally-charged post on Twitter (now called X). Several other users have also shared the photos with the claim that they show the recent unrest in Haryana. The archive of the posts can be found here, here, here and here.

However, none of these pictures are related to the current situation in Haryana. 

In fact

Reverse image search revealed that the pictures are old and unrelated to the violence that broke out in Nuh and Gurugram. 

We found that the first image of a police official in riot gear facing the burning wreckage on the ground was published by The Times of India(TOI) in a video report on August 26, 2017. The image can be spotted at the 0:32 timestamp. According to the report, followers of the religious group Dera Sacha Sauda held violent protests across Haryana against the conviction of self-styled guru Ram Rahim Singh in a sexual assault case. The video said that as many as 30 people died and more than 250 people were injured during the violence, and curfew was imposed in several parts of Haryana. This image was also published by National Herald on August 26, 2017, in a report on violence by Dera followers. The image was attributed to news agency Press Trust of India (PTI).

We found the second picture — of an overturned car on fire with a police official looking on — in a report published by NDTV on February 20, 2013. The photograph shared online is a zoomed-in version of this image that was taken during a two-day Bharath Bandh (nationwide strike) that was called by 11 major trade unions in Noida, Uttar Pradesh. The union workers attacked several factories and vehicles during the strike, and the image is from one such instance. The image was attributed to AFP and published with the caption: “A policeman on the spot of riots.” We also found the image on Getty Images where it was shared with the caption: “An Indian policeman looks on near a burning car during a trade union strike in Noida on the outskirts of New Delhi on February 20, 2013.” The image was attributed to “STRDEL/AFP via Getty Images.” Financial Times and Hindustan Times also published the picture, attributing it to AFP. 

The third image of several police officials in riot gear assembled at a town square is from Kanpur and was taken in 2019 during a protest against the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). It can be found in a TOI report published on December 25, 2019. The image caption read: “Police personnel clash with protestors during a rally against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in Kanpur on Saturday.” Deccan Herald also published the image with the same caption in a report on the anti-CAA protests. The photo was attributed to PTI by both news outlets.

The fourth image shows three police personnel standing around a man with two police officials waving a stick at him. This image is from the 2019 anti-CAA protests held in Kanpur as well. We found the image on the PTI website, published with the caption: “Police personnel hits a civilian during their protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act that turned violent, at Babu Purwa in Kanpur, Friday.” PTI had published the image on December 19, 2019. Crediting PTI with the image, News18 had also published a report with it the same day. 

The above evidence shows that old and unrelated images of arson and violence are being shared in context with the current unrest in Haryana. 

What is happening in Haryana?

On Monday, July 31, two home guards were killed, and around 10 people were injured after a mob tried to stop a religious procession called the ‘Brij Mandal Jalabhishek Yatra’ by two Hindu outfits, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the ​​​​Bajrang Dal, in Nuh, according to The Indian Express. The mob had allegedly fired gunshots and pelted stones at the right-wing groups and the police team accompanying their procession. 

According to an India Today report, the clashes were triggered by an objectionable video uploaded by a Bajrang Dal activist. Rumors that Monu Manesar, a self-proclaimed cow vigilante, would be present at the procession also triggered communal tension that led to the violence. Manesar has been booked for the murder of two cattle traders, whose bodies were found charred in February in Haryana’s Bhiwani district. However, PTI reports that Manesar was asked to stay away from the procession and did not participate in it.  

On Monday night, the violence spread to Gurugram, where a 26-year-old man was killed when a mosque was set ablaze in the district’s Sector 57 area. According to the latest reports, the death toll has risen to five. 

Central forces have been deployed in Nuh, where a curfew has also been imposed. Internet services have also been temporarily suspended in Nuh, Gurugram, Faridabad, Palwal, and Rewari districts. Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has condemned the violence and called for peace in the violence-stricken districts. 

The verdict

Old and unrelated images from 2013, 2017, and 2019 have been misattributed to the recent clashes in Haryana. Therefore, we mark the claim as misleading.

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