Farmers have been protesting against the centre’s new agricultural laws since the past few months. As per a report by The Indian Express, ‘Bharat Bandh’ strike observed by the farmers on December 8 was supported by 15 opposition parties, trade unions and two railway unions.

In the backdrop of this, Twitter user @zachjcarter posted four images of mass protests and wrote, “250 *million* people on strike in India. The revolution will not be televised.” This tweet has been retweeted over 2,000 times since December 3. (archived link)

In order to find the context behind the images, Alt News performed multiple reverse image search on Bing and TinEye.

Image 1

This image was published by a website called Portside on January 13, credited to photographer Ajit Solanki from Associated Press (AP). The caption of the image states, “Members of various trade unions shout slogans during a general strike called by various trade unions in Ahmadabad, India, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020. Trade unions have called for a country-wide strike Wednesday to protest against what they call the “anti-workers and anti-people” policies of the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”

As per NDTV, Business Standard and Hindustan Times, this strike was expected to see a turn out of 250 million people.

Image 2

This image was published by News Central 24×7 in 2018. The image has been credited to Sitaram Yechury, general secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist).

Yechury had posted this image on March 11, 2018, claiming it was shot during Mumbai’s Kisaan March in 2018.

The image was also published by Feminism In India (FII) in their 2018 article on Kisaan March. As per FII, protestors, primarily from the tribal communities, walked 180 km to reach Mumbai.

Image 3 & 4

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Both these images are available on Getty Images (3,4) along with the same caption — “Activists of Communist Party of India Marxist (CPIM), along with members of different workers unions, shout slogans as they block train tracks during a nationwide general strike called by trade unions aligned with opposition parties to protest against the Indian government’s economic policies, near the railway station in Amritsar on January 8, 2020.” The images are credited to the photographer Narinder Nanu.

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The viral message also suggests that farmers’ protest saw the participation of 250 million people, which is roughly 17% of India’s population. Alt News cannot authenticate the figure however national and international media outlets, including BBC (archived link) and Business Standard (archived link), reported that over 250 million workers protested against various policies of the central government. Subsequently, several people on the internet made this claim.

None of the images tweeted by Twitter user @zachjcarter is related to the ongoing farmers’ protest. Three of the images are from the nationwide protest led by central trade unions on January 8 and one of them was from Kisaan March in 2018.

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About the Author

Archit is a graduate in English Literature from The MS University of Baroda. He also holds a post-graduation diploma in journalism from the Asian College of Journalism. Since then he has worked at Essel Group's English news channel at WION as a trainee journalist, at S3IDF as a fundraising & communications officer and at The Hindu as a reporter. At Alt News, he works as a fact-checking journalist.