Fact Check: Old Photos Falsely Linked To Opposition Rally In Delhi's Ramlila Maidan

New Delhi:

With the 2024 Lok Sabha elections scheduled to take place in multiple phases from April 19 to June 1, 2024, leaders of the Opposition INDIA bloc, organised a “Loktantra Bachao” rally at New Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan on March 31, 2024. This rally follows the arrest of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in an alleged money-laundering case linked to the Delhi liquor policy.

What’s the claim?

Against this backdrop, numerous aerial images have emerged, purportedly depicting massive crowds rallying in support of Arvind Kejriwal in Delhi at the ‘Loktantra Bachao Rally’ organised by the Opposition bloc.

One such image, portraying a sizable gathering of individuals clad in yellow attire, has been circulated as evidence of Kejriwal’s support base. The accompanying Hindi captions, upon translation, assert: “The streets of Delhi are brimming with Kejriwal supporters,” accompanied by the hashtag #IndiaWithKejriwal.

At the time of writing, one such post featuring the viral image had accumulated over 424,000 views. Archived versions of this post and others like it can be found here, here, and here.

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Another such aerial image depicting a sizable crowd has gained viral attention, purporting to be a recent snapshot from the rally at Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan. Captions accompanying this image claim, “Scenes from today at the Ramlila Maidan Alliance Rally. Modi toh giyo #INDIAAlliance.”

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One such post sharing the viral image had garnered 407,000 views at the time of writing. Archived and similar versions of the post can be viewed here, and here.

However, the first picture can be traced back to an African event. Similarly, another image purported to be from the recent rally in Delhi is an old picture from West Bengal dating back to 2019.

What are the facts?

Image 1

After conducting a reverse image search of the first image, it was discovered that it originated from the official account of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, posted on January 23, 2022. The post’s caption indicated that the image portrays Africa’s largest running competition, the ‘Great Ethiopian Run,’ an annual road running event in Ethiopia.

Furthermore, we discovered a similar image uploaded to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Achievement Funds website. The accompanying description stated, “Haile Gebreselassie kicks off the Great Ethiopian Run under the slogan ‘We Can End Poverty by 2015.'” This image, captured from a different angle, displayed a signboard featuring the words “Abyssinia Springs.”

Even in May 2022, this exact image resurfaced, falsely representing a gathering of Chennai Super Kings fans at the 2023 IPL final, alongside other unrelated images. In a fact-check, Logically Facts uncovered that images from events held in different years in Spain, Africa, and Thailand were being misrepresented as visuals of CSK fans at the IPL final.

Image 2

A reverse image search led us to a 2019 news article by People’s Democracy, an English weekly newspaper of the Communist Party of India, featuring the viral image. The article reported that thousands of Left Party workers attended a Left Front-led rally held at Kolkata’s Brigade Parade ground.

Moreover, a post by the CPI(M) West Bengal unit on X, dated June 10, 2020, shared the same image with the caption ‘A bird’s eye view of last year’s Brigade Rally at Kolkata,’ confirming its origin from the 2019 meeting.

Rally at Kolkata’s Brigade Parade in 2019

Reports published on websites like Peoples Dispatch, Peoples Democracy, and Social News in February 2019 disclosed that thousands of Left party workers took part in the rally held at Kolkata’s Brigade Parade ground on February 3, 2019. These reports highlighted that the rally was staged in opposition to the BJP-led government at the Centre and the TMC-led government in the state.

It was reported that during this rally, held in anticipation of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in India, a resolution was adopted calling for the removal of the BJP and TMC governments from the state.

The verdict

Old and unrelated images from the 2022 Great Ethiopian Run in Africa and a rally held at Kolkata’s Brigade Parade ground on February 3, 2019, have been circulated with the false claim that they depict scenes from the 2024 ‘Loktantra Bachao’ rally, which purportedly featured Kejriwal supporters in Delhi. As a result, we have marked the claim as false.

This story was originally published by Logically Facts, and republished by NDTV as part of the Shakti Collective.

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