A photograph of chidren holding green coloured flags in their hands started circulating on social media on Republic Day. It has been claimed that Muslim school children in Kerala boycotted Vande Mataram and hoisted Islamic flags.
केरल में कांड ! 26 जनवरी को मुसलमानों ने स्कूलों में इस्लामी झंडे लहराए , इने क्या सजा मिलनी चाहिए ! pic.twitter.com/vFYgK84diB
— Sanjaygupta (@SanjayGupta2910) January 26, 2019
The photograph has been shared widely on Twitter and Facebook. BJP Spokesperson Vaibhav Aggarwal queried Alt News regarding the veracity of the image.
— #VAIBHAVAggarwal #BJP (@thevaibhavag) January 28, 2019
Photos used with similar narrative in the past
Interestingly, Alt News found that the same pictures had been circulated in the past as well, around the time of Independence Day. The narrative was the same- Muslim school children in Kerala had hoisted Islamic flags while refusing to sing the national song.
— केशव मिश्रा🇮🇳🚩 (@KeshavMishra216) August 16, 2017
ShankhNaad, which has spread misinformation in the past, had also earlier tweeted the same, claiming the incident had occurred at a school in Kerala during independence day celebrations in 2014.
What is the Truth?
The green coloured flags seen in the photographs are the flag of the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML). IUML is a political party based in Kerala. Its banner is presented below.
These images that have been circulating for a few years now are neither part of any Indpendence day celebration or Republic day celebration. The images are part of IUML’s next generation rally which took place in May, 2013 in Malappuram district in Kerala and whose pictures were posted on the IUML Facebook page.
Upon juxtaposing the images side-by-side, it can be made out that the van with the yellow coloured back and the green bus are present in both the pictures, thus establishing that both the pictures represent the same event.
The fact that messages like these circulate on national events like Republic Day and Independence Day points to an organised campaign to malign certain sections of the society and question their patriotism.