New Delhi: The recent communal violence in Bangladesh saw a spillover effect in India, with violence in Tripura directed at Muslims, allegedly by VHP members, who took out ‘Hunkar rallies’, where mobs reportedly targeted Muslim homes and institutions. While reports of several mosques being attacked found its way to social media, several users also posted images that had nothing to do with the recent spate of violence against Muslims in Tripura. Newschecker fact checked some of the most viral images on Twitter.
Attack On Media Houses And CPI(M) Offices Shared As Violence In Tripura
Of the many images that are widely being shared is the image of a burning vehicle from, claiming to have been set ablaze by mobs attacking Muslims in Tripura. But a Google reverse image search shows several media reports from September 10 this year that carried the same image. The articles said that the images were from Agartala and showed attacks on media houses and CPI(M) offices by BJP workers. Read the articles here, here and here.
Ramnavami Rally In Kolkata Claimed To Be VHP Rally In Tripura
Another image that is widely being shared in the context of violence in Tripura is that of a group of men wearing saffron clothes and carrying saffron flags, seemingly marching.
Another reverse image search of this image led us to a Hindustan Times article captioned “Ramnavami rallies: Tension prevails in parts of Bengal”. The image description reveals that it is from Jadavpur area of Kolkata and shows VHP supporters taking out a religious procession to celebrate Ramnavami and nowhere related to violence in Tripura.
Image From Anti-CAA Rally In Guwahati Linked To Tripura Violence
Meanwhile, others tweeted images that were captured during the anti-CAA protests in Delhi. Twitter handle @dharunkumaran tweeted the image with #SaveTripuraMuslims #TripuraRiots, implying that the image showed violence in Tripura.
A reverse image directed Newschecker to several articles carrying the same image. These media reports report that the image was captured in Guwahati and shows protests against the Citizenship Amendment Bill in 2019.The articles can be seen here and here.
Images From Dera Violence Linked To Violence In Tripura
Images showing riots in Haryana in the aftermath of the conviction of Dera Sacha Sauda Chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim for rape, are also being passed off as violence in Tripura.
A simple reverse image search showed articles from prominent newsportals reporting on the violence on August 25 in Panchkula, carrying the same image.
Newschecker had also debunked another viral image of two young men holding copies of the Holy Quran, claiming to show violence in Tripura. The image actually showed victims salvaging copies of the Holy Quran from a fire in the Rohingya refugee camp in Delhi’s Kanchan Kunj.
Misinformation ‘Drowns’ Credible Sources?
While many such images were widely circulated on social media, several credible sources of information get lost in the deluge of misinformation. On October 27, Samridhi Sakunia, an independent journalist following the developments closely shared a video of a mosque in Panisagar’s Chamtilla, allegedly destroyed by VHP and RSS members.
Samriddhi is one of the very few sources who is giving the outside world a view on what was happening in Tripura. But soon after, Tripura police put out a statement on Twitter accusing ‘anti-social elements’ of spreading rumours and warning them of ‘lawful action’.
Speaking to Newschecker, Samriddhi says, “I am not claiming whether the mosques were burned or not burned. It was vandalised as seen in the video. The police are surely intimidating me. But I stand by my tweet because I have verified it multiple times with multiple sources.”
Court Puts Police Claim To Test
Meanwhile, the Tripura HC has taken suo motu cognizance of the reports of violence in Tripura, seeking a report from the state police by November 10, while ordering the state to act on those circulating fake content online.
When asked about the action that government plans to take on those posting fake images on social media claiming to be from violence in Tripura, Sanjay Mishra, the Officer on Special Duty for Media, Tripura, said, “The state plans to take strict action as per the HC order. There were no incidents of mosque burning in the state. Incidents from 2018 and 2019 are being shared on social media claiming to be from the recent days.”
With inputs from Mohammed Zakariya, Shaminder Singh, Ujwala P, Ankit Shukla
(This is a developing story and Newschecker will update the webpage as and when more information is available to us)
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