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HomeFact checkNews2013 Image Of RSS Workers Shared As Recent Relief Efforts In Uttarakhand

2013 Image Of RSS Workers Shared As Recent Relief Efforts In Uttarakhand

On 7 February, Chamoli district in Uttarakhand witnessed flash floods reportedly caused after a part of Nanda Devi’s glacier broke. The northern Indian state has lost at least 35 lives to this disaster and over 100 people are still known to be missing. Rescue efforts continue. 

Amid this, an image of people carrying sacks is being attributed to RSS workers volunteering after the recent flash floods in Uttarakhand. 

One such claim with the image was shared by Hindi cinema actor Paresh Rawal. His tweet reads, “Any calamity Anywhere In India . #RSS is the first one to reach there and Last one to leave . Always.Respect.”

Any calamity Anywhere In India . #RSS is the first one to reach there and Last one to leave . Always.Respect. https://t.co/52sY4hS3fO— Paresh Rawal (@SirPareshRawal) February 11, 2021

Another user’s tweet shared on 11 February reads, “100s of #RSS volunteers are in #Chamoli working 24×7 without any desire for publicity. Compare it with charity tourist org which published 50 pictures of it’s 6 “volunteers” even before they started their drive to disaster site in their SUV. #Hindus should support their own.”

BJP national spokesperson RP Singh shared this claim as well. 

चमोली तपोवन के लगभग 13 गांवो के तो अवशेष ही बचे है पुल बह चुका है सड़कों का नामोनिशां नहीं ऐसे में खाद्यों से भरी बोरियां कंधे पर उठाए @RSSorg के स्वयंसेवको ने मोर्चा संभाल रक्खा है ताकि कोई भूखा न सोये न ही कोई बीमारी से मरे। #UttarakhandGlacierBurst pic.twitter.com/Pnh4162l64— R.P. Singh: ਆਰ ਪੀ ਸਿੰਘ National Spokesperson BJP (@rpsinghkhalsa) February 11, 2021

#चमोली के आपदाग्रस्त क्षेत्रों को राहत सामग्री पहुँचाते आरएसएस
के स्वयंसेवक….@RSSorg pic.twitter.com/4vVFGbSBsj— Dinesh Pant (@DineshP777) February 11, 2021

An archived version of the claim can viewed here

Fact Check/ Verification 

Through Google reverse image search we found the image in context included in a report published by Samvada.org eight years ago. The image is included with the caption, “RSS Swayamsevaks in Uttarakhand.”

Around 5000 volunteers worked in the different flood-affected areas in the state including Haridwar and Rishikesh after the 2013 cloudburst calamity, as per the report. At the time, 15  centres and different types of camps including food distribution, medical camps, and rescue assistance were set up across the state. 

Samvada's report on RSS workers volunteering during Uttarakhand's cloudburst disaster, 2013
Samvada’s report on RSS workers volunteering during Uttarakhand’s cloudburst disaster, 2013

Further, we found more images of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s (RSS) workers volunteering after the cloudburst calamity, which caused massive flooding in Kedarnath and Rambada regions in Uttarakhand.  

Another report published on fdocuments.in details the role of RSS (Sangh) Swayamsevaks in Uttarakhand flooding disaster management, 2013. This includes the image from the claim with the caption, “Photo 5.Swayamsevaks carrying Relief Supplies on their Shoulders in Hilly regions of Uttarakhand.”

Screenshot showing RSS workers in Uttarakhand flood disaster management, 2013
Screenshot showing RSS workers in Uttarakhand flood disaster management, 2013

This claim has been debunked in our Hindi fact-check as well. 

Conclusion

Our research makes it clear that the image in the claim is from 2018. It shows RSS workers volunteering in relief efforts after the cloudburst disaster in the state eight years ago. It does not reflect RSS efforts in the current flash floods situation in Chamoli. 

Result: Misplaced Context 

Our Sources

Samvada.org: https://samvada.org/2013/news/day-12-rss-relief-works-at-uttarankhand-a-brief-report/

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh: https://www.rss.org/UttarakhandFloodRelief2013.html

India Documents: https://fdocuments.in/document/role-of-rss-sangh-swayamsevaks-in-uttarakhanda-flooding-disaster-management.html


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Nikita Vashisth
Nikita Vashisth
Nikita is a writer and editor for English fact-checking. She also leads projects to understand the misinformation and fake-news ecosystem—with an emphasis on data and psychology. Previously, she has worked with IndiaSpend, CNN-News18 and written for Citizen Matters and Mongabay-India on the environment, health, and politics. She’s a postgraduate of the Computational Journalism program at Cardiff University, Wales.

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