When the counting of votes for Delhi assembly elections was underway on Tuesday, 11 February – with latest trends pointing to a massive mandate for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) – a report by Amar Ujala claimed that Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh area, which has become the face of anti-CAA protests in the country, wore a deserted look.
The report, which was published in the early hours of Tuesday, was also picked up by right-wing website OpIndia.
The OpIndia story, titled ‘Shaheen Bagh protest site seen empty as AAP all set to return in Delhi’, suggested that the protesters have moved out as AAP has registered a victory in the constituency.
“It is noteworthy to mention that Shaheen Bagh comes under Okhla constituency, where controversial AAP member Amanatullah Khan has registered a victory,” read the article.
BJP IT cell head Amit Malviya, who has been caught peddling fake news on multiple occasions, shared the same OpIndia story, which in-turn has been retweeted by 1,900 users (at the time of writing this piece).
Multiple users shared the story on social media with similar claims, slamming the protesters.
Swarajya published an article titled, “Shaheen Bagh Protest Site Virtually Empty On Election Result Morning As AAP Notches Decisive Victory: Report”
But the report which is being shared widely is misleading on many counts and fails to bring forth the facts.
Now, while the picture which has been used is indeed from Shaheen Bagh, it is incorrect to claim that the protesters didn’t show up as the AAP is all set to form the government in Delhi.
Here’s a timeline of events held at Shaheen Bagh on Tuesday:
8:00 AM: Before The Protesters Came In
A similar picture was taken by The Quint’s Akanksha Kumar, who was in the area to cover the protests. She reported that the picture was taken in the early hours before the protesters started pouring-in.
“This (picture) was taken at 8 am when only volunteers were sleeping inside and women protesters hadn’t come out,” Kumar said.
At around 9:00 am, women protesters started coming in and by 12:00 pm there were hundreds of protesters at the site, she added.
At 7:00 PM
The protest continued in the evening with hundreds of protesters continuing their demonstration in the area.
Contrary to Reports, Shaheen Bagh Observed a Silent Protest
The second part of both these reports mentions that the protesters didn’t show up because AAP is coming back to power in Delhi. But, in reality, the protesters began a silent protest holding placards which read that they don’t support any political party.
Speaking to The Quint, a participant Shabnam said that the silent protest is against the alleged police crackdown on Jamia students. “We are neither happy with anyone’s victory nor sad about anyone’s defeat.” Shabnam told The Quint.
Shaheen Bagh update handle also tweeted refuting the claim.
हिंदी अख़बार अमर उजाला द्वारा दिल्ली चुनाव के नतीजे को ग़लत तस्वीर दिखा कर हमारे प्रदर्शन से जोड़ना उनकी पत्रकारिता के पतन का सबूत है।
हम यहीं बैठें है, आइए और खुद देख लीजिए।
— Shaheen Bagh Official (@Shaheenbaghoff1) February 11, 2020
Shaheen Bagh protest has been going on for almost 55 days and has become a symbol of resistance against NRC, CAA and police brutality. And while the Supreme Court is slated to hear the matter of the protesters blocking the public roads and causing inconvenience to people on 17 February, the protesters aren’t defiant and say that the apex court’s order will be acceptable to them.
While it remains unclear as to when will the protesters move from the location, but as of 11 February, men and women of Shaheen Bagh continued to raise their voice against the establishment.
(With inputs from Akanksha Kumar and Aaqib Raza Khan.)
[This article was originally published in The Quint.]