Several social media users and pages have shared an image which shows women standing in front of a banner which reads ‘Fix rate 500/ day 7 pm to 12 pm Shaheen Bagh.’ It was shared by Facebook page ‘Rohit Sardana Fans Club’ on January 18. The photograph suggests that protesters at Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh are agitating against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) for money.
It is noteworthy that BJP IT cell head Amit Malviya had tweeted a video on January 15 which alleged that protestors were gathering at Shaheen Bagh for Rs 500 per day. In response, Shaheen Bagh protesters reportedly filed a Rs 1 crore defamation lawsuit against Malviya.
On January 18, Facebook user Megha Agarwal posted a collage of two images with the hashtag #शाहीन_बाग_की_बिकाऊ_औरते (#Shaheen_Bagh_Ki_Bikau_Auratey). The second photo in the collage shows a newspaper article written in Hindi whose headline reads ‘Reaching Shaheen Bagh for 500 rupees and biryani [Translated from 500 रुपए व बिरयानी के लिए पहंच रहे शाहीन बाग]’
Alt News did a reverse image search of the viral image on Google and found a January 16 article by The Statesman with the original photograph. According to the report, the picture was clicked by Money Sharma/ AFP (Agence France-Presse). Here, the banner reads, ‘Take back CAA Take back NCR [Translated from CAA वापस लो NRC वापस लो]’. The image is available on Getty Images as well. The stock photo agency also credits it to Money Sharma. According to Getty Images, the photograph was shot on January 7, 2020.
The collage below shows that the viral image (left) has been morphed.
A keyword search for the newspaper report shared by Megha Agarwal revealed that it was published by Punjab Kesari on January 17.
The report essentially describes the video uploaded by Malviya which alleged that protesters at Shaheen Bagh joined the sit-in for monetary gains. The article however is misleading as the title poses an allegation as a fact. It may be reiterated that protesters have denied accepting cash and have filed a defamation suit against Amit Malviya.
An anti-CAA and NRC poster was therefore morphed with words which suggest that protesters at Shaheen Bagh are gathering between 7 pm to 12 pm for a ‘fixed rate’ of Rs 500.