A picture of Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi smiling and posing for a photo has been trending on social media recently. Users are claiming that this picture was taken on their way to Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras. Sharing this on Twitter, AVBP member Anima Sonkar wrote, “Here is the Leader of Opposition going to Hathras, extreme grief is clearly visible on both their faces.” Sonkar later took down her tweet but an archived link can be accessed here.

After the alleged rape of a Dalit woman in Hathras and her subsequent death, Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi visited the victim’s family on October 3. A number of netizens have shared this picture on Facebook and Twitter linking it to the Hathras case.

हाथरस जाते विपक्ष के नेता, अत्यधिक दुःख चेहरे पर साफ़ दिखाई दे रहा हैं

#ड्रामेबाज_भाईबहन

Posted by Amitava Sarker on Thursday, 1 October 2020

Fact-check

We performed a reverse image search and found that the photo was taken in April 2019 when the Congress leaders were campaigning for the Lok Sabha elections. The two had arrived at Kanpur airport from their own private planes at the same time. They had a light-hearted chat before heading off to their respective destinations. Congress’s Twitter handle had shared several pictures from this meeting on April 27, 2019. The viral image has been taken from this set of images.

In fact, pictures and videos from the siblings’ meeting had gone quite viral on social media at the time. In the video below, the duo can be seen laughing while talking to each other. Rahul Gandhi says, “Let me tell you what it means to be a good brother. I am doing these massive long flights and I am travelling in a little helicopter, squeezed up. And my sister is doing short flights and she’s going in (incomprehensible) helicopter. But I love her.” After saying this, both of them can be seen heading towards their helicopters. They posed for a picture after requests from bystanders. This clip was broadcast live on Rahul Gandhi’s official Facebook page.

 

Was nice meeting Priyanka at Kanpur Airport! We’re headed to different meetings in UP.

Posted by Rahul Gandhi on Saturday, 27 April 2019

In April 2019, several news outlets carried pictures and videos of this meeting. The Indian Express, NDTV, Dainik Jagran, Navbharat Times, Punjab Kesari, and India TV were some of the major media outlets that covered the story.

A picture that is over a year old is being circulated to falsely suggest that Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi were not grief-stricken by the alleged Hathras rape but were merrymaking. The Hathras case has brought an onslaught of public outrage and criticism towards the Uttar Pradesh government. Opposition parties have been equally vocal in their flak. Rahul Gandhi has been targetted with misinformation following his criticism of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s handling of the case. He was accused of grabbing a policeman’s collar in a scuffle while trying to meet the victim’s family on October 1. Alt News Fact Check on the claim can be read here.

Apart from this, several unrelated news reports are being given false rape-murder claim in Congress-ruled states. One of the more prominent instances came from Punjab, where a false angle was given to pictures of a woman constable killed in a road accident. A photograph of an Adivasi woman killed in a personal dispute in Madhya Pradesh was also shared as an incident of rape and murder by a Muslim man in Tonk district of Rajasthan.

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Priyanka Jha specialises in monitoring and researching mis/disinformation at Alt News. She also manages the Alt News Hindi portal.