Old images circulated as those of ‘post-poll violence’ in Bengal

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Old Images are being shared on social media with a claim that they show violence by workers and supporters of the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) after the results of the 2021 Assembly elections were declared.

Though incidents of violence have been reported out of Bengal and nearly a dozen people have reportedly died, these images do not show the current situation.

Claim

The aforementioned images are being shared on social media with #BengalBurning and #BengalViolence and claims insinuating that this was done by TMC workers after election results were announced in the state. They are also being used to voice support for the implementation of a President’s Rule in the state.

(Source: Twitter/Screenshot)

To view archived version of the viral claim you can click here and here.

(Source: Twitter/Screenshot)

Archived version of the viral claim on Facebook and Twitter can be accessed here, here and here.

(Source: Twitter/Screenshot)

An archived version of of the claim can be accessed here and here.

(Source: Twitter/Screenshot)

To view an archived version of the claim, click here.

What we found

On 2 May, after the Trinamool Congress (TMC) won the 2021 Assembly polls in West Bengal, incidents of mob violence were reported from several areas in the state.

Houses and vehicles of several Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidates and supporters were allegedly attacked and a party office at Arambagh was set on fire – images and videos of which started doing the rounds on social media. However, not all the images are recent and they don’t show the current situation in the state.

IMAGE 1

We ran a reverse image search on the said photo and found news reports from 2018 which mentioned that this was from a communal clash in Asansol. As per a report by The Indian Express, the incident took place in West Burdwan’s Asansol area near Satellite township.

We found another article in Hindustan Times from 2018 which used the same image, attributed to news agency PTI.

IMAGE 2

Using Google reverse image search, we came across a  by ABP News from 2019, which carried the viral image.

The tweet was posted on 14 May 2019, showing images from a clash between BJP workers and TMC student activists, during Amit Shah’s roadshow in support of BJP leaders in West Bengal.

Clashes broke out between BJP supporters and student activists of the Left and Trinamool Congress during Amit Shah’s roadshow in 2019. The clashes allegedly started after student activists of both the Left and the TMCP allegedly shouted slogans against Shah.

Next, we looked up the incident on Google using “Amit Shah roadshow violence” and found a report by The Statesmanwhich carried the viral image.

IMAGE 3

(Photo: Twitter/Screenshot)

We ran a reverse image search on the image, which led us to a news report published by The Deccan Herald in December 2019. The same image was used in this article and the photo caption mentions that it was taken in Howrah during the protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.

According to a report by The Times of India, protesters had blocked roads, torched empty buses and trains, and pelted stones at passing vehicles.

We also found the image on Getty Images, which was attributed to AFP.

IMAGE 4

A reverse image search led us to a news report by Hindustan Times dated 9 July 2018. The article carried the images and mentioned that a vehicle was set on fire during the violence that erupted during the then conducted panchayat polls.

The picture was attributed to news agency PTI. We checked PTI’s archives for the image and found the photograph from 2018.

Violence broke out in various districts across West Bengal following the Panchayat elections, which left at least 12 dead and more than 70 people injured.

Clearly, old images from 2018 and 2019 depicting communal and poll violence in West Bengal have been shared on social media in context of the 2021 Assembly election results.