'Anti-Hindu slogans' and misleading images surface as fake news abounds amid anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests across India

  • Several false claims were made on social media in the past couple of days, particularly after the police action in the Jamia Milia Islamia University in Delhi on Sunday evening.

  • One claim was that students at various universities chanted anti-Hindu slogans during their protests.

  • However, a video from the campus makes it clear that the students were chanting slogans against Hindutva, and not against Hindus.

At a time when large-scale protests are being held at university campuses across the country, fake news cannot be far behind. Several false claims have been made on social media in the past couple of days, particularly after the police action against protesting students at the Jamia Milia Islamia University in Delhi on Sunday evening.

One claim was that students at various universities chanted anti-Hindu slogans during their protests. Amit Malviya, the head of the Bharatiya Janata Party's IT cell, tweeted a video which claimed that the Jamia students chanted slogans of "Hinduon ki kabr khudegi, AMU ki dharti par" (The graves of Hindus will be dug on the soil of AMU) and Aligarh Muslim University students chanted slogans of "Hinduon se azadi. (Freedom from Hindus)". He further said, "If this is the mindset that pervades in these ‘minority’ institutions, imagine the plight of Hindus and other minorities in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan."

 Anti-Hindu slogans and misleading images surface as fake news abounds amid anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests across India

However, a video from the campus, in which the audio is clearer than the videos in which the false claims have been made, makes it clear that the students were chanting slogans against Hindutva, and not against Hindus. Apart from Hindutva, the slogans were directed against VD Savarkar and the BJP.

Another false claim was made involving a girl who was shown bleeding from her head. Some social media posts claimed that she was injured in protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act in West Bengal. One social media user said, "Thank you Indian Muslims. This is a little girl who was on that train. Now don't say anything for this girl, else your brotherhood will be affected."

However, a fact-check by The Times of India found that the photo was originally from Bangladesh and was first used by United News of Bangladesh on 12 November, 2019.

On similar lines, a photo of an injured woman was shared on WhatsApp with the claim that she was injured during protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act. However, an analysis by Alt News showed that the image dated back to, at least April 2018, and was likely taken during protests against amendments to the SC/ST Atrocities Act. A photo of a burning train, also claimed in the message to be related to the current protests, was found to be in reality from an accidental fire on the New Delhi-Visakhapatnam AP Express.

Old photos were also being used in a misleading manner in a bid to discredit protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act. An image of a man wearing a skull cap kicking an 'Amar Jawan' memorial is being shared with the caption, "Such a person from any community – Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Jain, Christian, Buddhist – can never be a citizen of this country." However, the image, which was published in the newspaper Mid Day, is from Mumbai and is from 2012. The image was taken during the violence at Mumbai's Azad Maidan in August 2012, which was widely reported in the media at the time.

Meanwhile, there were also false claims that a student — Shakir from Kota, Rajasthan — had died due to the police action at the Jamia Milia Islamia. However, BoomLive quoted Reyaz, an alumnus of Jamia Milia Islamiya, as saying that the student is alive.

This is not the first time that such misleading claims have been made about students protests against the Centre's policies. In 2016, there were widespread allegations that students in Jawaharlal Nehru University shouted "anti-national" slogans during a protest criticising the death penalty awarded to Parliament terror attack convict Afzal Guru. However, a forensic examination had later concluded that three out of seven videos in this regard were "doctored."

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Updated Date: Dec 16, 2019 19:59:29 IST