English, Fake News
 

2019 protest photo of Harsh Vardhan falsely linked to the post-poll violence in West Bengal

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An image is being shared on social media claiming it as a recent picture of Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, protesting against the post-poll violence in West Bengal. This post claims that Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has given priority to attend BJP protests rather than devoting time to contain the COVID-19 second wave in the country. Amid the reports of multiple instances of post-poll violence in West Bengal, this post is being shared on social media. Let’s verify the claim made in the post.

The archived version of the post can be seen here.

Claim: Photo of Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan protesting against the post-poll violence in West Bengal while the country is going through the COVID-19 second wave.

Fact: The photo shared in the post is related to an old BJP protest held in May 2019. Protesting the violence on Amit Shah’s convoy in Kolkata, Union Ministers Harsh Vardhan, Jitendra Singh, Vijay Goel, and other top BJP leaders held this silent protest at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi. This photo is not a current one and has nothing to do with the recent post-poll violence in West Bengal. Hence, the claim made in the post is FALSE.

On reverse image search of the photo shared in the post, a similar photo was found in an article published by ‘VOA’ news website on 15 May 2019. The description of the photo states, ‘Leaders and supporters of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) attend a silent protest against the disturbance caused during an election campaign rally by the party president Amit Shah in Kolkata on Tuesday, in New Delhi, May 15, 2019’.

When we searched for more details of the photo using relevant keywords, we found a similar photo published in the ‘ANI’ article about BJP leaders’ silent protest in New Delhi, on 15 May 2019. This article reported that BJP top leaders including Union Ministers Harsh Vardhan, Nirmala Sitaraman, Vijay Goel, and Jitendra Singh have participated in a silent protest over the violence at Amit Shah’s roadshow in Kolkata. By wearing black bands and holding the ‘SAVE BENGAL SAVE DEMOCRACY’ placards, BJP leaders staged a silent protest against the TMC workers’ attack on Amit Shah’s convoy, on 14 May 2019.  ‘ANI’ shared few other photos related to this protest on its Twitter handle.

Other news articles and videos related to this protest can be seen here and here. On 14 May 2019, student activists from the TMC pelted stones at Amit Shah’s convoy as it passed through the college street in Kolkata. From all these pieces of evidence, it can be concluded that the image shared in the post is an old one and has nothing to do with the recent post-poll violence in West Bengal.

To sum it up, 2019 photo of Harsh Vardhan protesting the violence on Amit Shah’s convoy in Kolkata falsely linked to the recent post-poll violence in West Bengal.

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