On 14 February, Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Chennai to inaugurate and launch a few projects. His presence in the city was seen as a significant move as Tamil Nadu is set to go to polls in a few months.
Following PM Modi’s visit, actor Oviyaa tweeted the hashtag #GoBackModi which led to the legal wing of Tamil Nadu BJP filing a petition to the cyber crime cell demanding action against her, reported News Minute.
Amid this, an image of “Go Back Modi” written on a street is being shared by social media users.
One such claim shared on 16 February with the image is captioned, “ਇਹ #ਤਾਮਿਲਨਾਡੂ ਦੀ ਤਸਵੀਰ ਹੈ. ਇਹ ਭਾਰਤ ਵਿਚ ਪਹਿਲੀ ਵਾਰ ਹੋ ਰਿਹਾ ਇਸ ਤਰ੍ਹਾਂ ਕਿਸੇ ਪ੍ਰਧਾਨ ਮੰਤਰੀ ਵਿਰੋਧ. आज #तमिलनाडु की तस्वीर. ऐसा पहले कभी किसी के साथ हुआ हो तो बताए ? #GO_BACK_MODI #ISUPPORTDEEPSIDHU”
Translated from Punjabi to English it reads, “This is a picture of #TamilNadu This is the first time in India that such a protest against a Prime Minister has taken place. Picture of #TamilNadu today. Tell me if this has ever happened to anyone before? #GO_BACK_MODI #ISUPPORTDEEPSIDHU”
Additionally, we found that this image was shared with another misleading caption attributed to Bihar in October 2020.
Fact Check/ Verification
Through a combination of reverse image search and relevant keywords we found the “Go Back Modi” image in a January 2020, Times of India article. Protesters against the Citizenship Amendment Act painted “Go Back Modi” on the streets of Kolkata during PM Modi’s visit to the state at the time.
“The idea was simple. We wanted to shout out a message that was loud and clear —any leader or organisation that tries to divide people on the basis of religion is not welcome in this city or state,” Usashi Pal, a postgraduate student told Times of India.
At the time, Indian Express had also reported on the “Go Back Modi” graffiti painted on a Kolkata street.
On 11 January, 2020 journalist Mayukh Ranjan Ghosh shared the image with the caption, “This is one of the busiest roads in Kolkata. #Esplanade. Lakhs and lakhs of people commute, jam packed traffic r seen. Just look at this place tonight. Roads turned into graffitis, no traffic, all roads blocked, students protesting overnight. This is #Kolkata #modiinkolkata”
We also found the photograph in context taken from different angles on Getty Images. Shot by Dibyangshu Sarkar via AFP, its caption reads, “People walk past a ‘Go Back Modi’ message written on a road as students protest against Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during a demonstration in Kolkata on January 12, 2020. – Thousands of angry protesters took to the streets to tell India’s leader he was unwelcome in Kolkata on January 11, in the latest rally against a citizenship law that critics say discriminates against Muslims.”
We also observed the Metro Channel police station board in the claim’s image. Through Google street view map we were able to confirm that the “Go Back Modi” graffiti was indeed from the streets of Kolkata.
This claim has been debunked in our Punjabi fact-check as well.
Our research makes it clear that the image in the claim is not from Tamil Nadu. “Go Back Modi” was painted on a street in Kolkata in light of the CAA protests and PM Modi’s visit to the state in January 2020.
Result: Misplaced Context
Mayukh Ranjan Ghosh: https://twitter.com/mayukhrghosh/status/1216052464455012352
Google street view map of Esplanade, Kolkata