Two sets of photos are viral on social media. The first photo is of a CRPF officer on duty while wearing basic protective gear such as a helmet and a vest, and the officer is carrying a baton (lathi). The second image is of a CRPF commando sporting advanced military tactical gear. The photos are being shared together to claim that there has been a massive improvement in gear provided to Indian army men during PM Modi’s tenure.
बस इतना बदला है अपना हिन्दुस्तान ! pic.twitter.com/7fBobISX8a
— Dr. Pankaj Shukla (@iPankajShukla) January 2, 2022
— भरत रेड्डी 🇮🇳 (@RBReddyHindu) January 3, 2022
For the first image, we noticed that the logo of stock photo agency Alamy is visible. Using that as a clue, we performed a keyword search on Google and found the original photo on Alamy. The photo shows a CRPF personnel in Kashmir. It was shot in 2012.
For the image of the commando in advanced military gear, we performed another reverse image search and found the original photo on stock photo agency Getty Images. According to the website, the photo was clicked just before the 2021 Republic Day celebrations.
We looked further and found a few more images of this commando on Getty and upon close observation, we could make out what is written on the badge on his arm. The badge reads, “Valley QAT”, which is the acronym for Valley Quick Action Team (QAT), an elite anti-terrorist unit of the CRPF that functions mainly in the J&K region.
Alt News reached out to a senior officer of the CRPF who is familiar with QAT. He requested to remain anonymous. According to the officer, the CRPF khaki uniform is the regular uniform and the Valley QAT which comes under the CRPF has been in operation for almost a decade. The only difference is that the Valley QAT commandos are highly trained. He also added that the process of upgrading pieces of equipment is continuous.
Alt News looked at a recent passing out parade of the CRPF. The uniform worn during this parade is the same CRPF khaki uniform in the 2012 picture with some additional accessories, the officer informed.
To summarise, two photos were shared on social media to depict that there has been a massive upgrade to the CRPF gear in recent years which is misleading. While the first photo is indeed from 2012, the second image is from 2021 and is a photo of a Valley QAT commando, an elite wing that comes under the CRPF.
There have been similar claims related to the Indian army, where even media outlets exaggerated the current government’s achievements. Ahmedabad Mirror and ANI had published misleading reports last year which claimed that homemade fabric is being used by the Indian army for the first time under PM Modi’s regime to stitch uniforms.
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