Political debates have heated up across the country after a report was published in the international edition of The New York Times about the government-run schools in Delhi. This story was also republished by the Khaleej Times on August 19. In the context of this report, several BJP leaders and social media users claimed that the picture shown to be of a Delhi government school in the Khaleej Times newspaper was actually of Mother Mary’s School, a private school.
BJP leader Kapil Mishra tweeted the photo available in Khaleej Times and a photo present on the website of Mother Mary’s School and wrote, “These photos are not of a government school in Delhi but of the children of Mother Mary School in Mayur Vihar.” Along with this, he accused Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia of selling lies in the country and abroad.
BJP leader Pravesh Sahib Singh also made a similar claim in his tweet. (Archive link)
Jannayak Janta Party’s national spokesperson Virender Sindhu also made a similar claim while tweeting photos of the children of Mother Mary’s School. (Archive link)
Others who have amplified this claim include BJP worker Priti Gandhi, Rakesh Goel, the state head of the BJP IT Cell in Punjab and Sumeet Bhasin. Pro-BJP media outlet OpIndia Hindi has also published a report based on these claims.
We noticed that the image published in Khaleej Times is present in the article published on The New York Times website on August 16. Photojournalist Saumya Khandelwal has been credited for this photo. It is important to note that a syndicated report was published by Khaleej Times on August 19.
Next, we did a reverse image search on Google to gather information about the photos shared by BJP leaders and social media users. This led us to the website of Mother Mary’s School, Mayur Vihar. Upon viewing the website of the school we came to know that it is an all-girls school. In its about section, it is clearly written that “Mother Mary’s School is a girls school. We don’t have any branch either in Delhi or outside.” A guard of the school confirmed to Alt News that it is a girls’ school. It is worth noting that in the picture present in Khaleej Times, boys can be seen sitting on the bench next to the girls in the class.
We matched the photographs published in the Khaleej Times to those available on the website of Mother Mary’s School. Readers will notice in the picture below that there is a slight difference in their dress. In the picture published in the newspaper, the colour of the collar of the girl students matches their Kurti, while on the other hand, the colour of the collar of the girl students of Mother Mary’s School is different from the colour of their Kurti. Here, the colour matches the vest. There is also a difference in the sleeves of the dress of the girl students of both the schools.
Upon a close look at the picture in the newspaper, it can be noticed that ‘Sarvodaya’ which is the name of the school is written in the logo of the dress. Readers should note that the Delhi government runs more than 400 Sarvodaya schools in the capital. We found a document from 2018 on the website of the Education Department of the Delhi Government. In this document, there are a total of 442 schools in the list of Sarvodaya Vidyalayas, out of which there are more than 70 co-ed schools, in which boys and girls attend together.
Aam Aadmi Party leader Atishi Marlena, while replying to BJP leader Kapil Sharma in a tweet, said that this photo is of Sarvodaya Vidyalaya Kakrola.
झूठे आरोप लगाने के लिए भी कुछ होमवर्क करना पड़ता है! झूठ बोलने की जल्दी में @KapilMishra_IND चेक करना भूल गए कि मदर मैरी स्कूल सिर्फ़ लड़कियों का स्कूल है!
यह फ़ोटो सर्वोदय विद्यालय ककरोला का है। सोशल मीडिया पर झूठी खबरें फैलाने से फ़ुरसत मिले, तो आप भी आकर यह स्कूल देखिएगा! https://t.co/yIbEEg78fR
— Atishi (@AtishiAAP) August 19, 2022
Photojournalist Saumya Khandelwal, who clicked this picture, confirmed to The Lallantop that the photo published in Khaleej Times is of Sarvodaya Vidyalaya in Kakrola, Delhi. She had clicked the picture on July 5 while she was on an assignment for The New York Times. The picture has now been used in a report by The New York Times. Along with this, Saumya also shared the metadata of this picture with The Lallantop.
To sum it up, BJP leaders falsely claimed that the picture of the Delhi government-run school published in the Khaleej Times is of Mother Mary’s School, a private school in Mayur Vihar. Moreover, Mother Mary’s is an all-girls school but in the picture present in the report by Khaleej Times boys can be seen sitting next to the girls in the class, which further debunks the claim made by BJP leaders and social media users.
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