An image of a person claimed to be a student of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) has been gathering a lot of traction on Facebook and Twitter. Social media users have been using this photo to attack anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protesters and the Left.
Twitter user Shefali Tiwari shared the image. While her caption was written in broken sentences, it was clear that she opposed both JNU and the Left and considered both to be anti-nationals. Her post had garnered over 200 retweets at the time of writing. (Archive link)
#JNU के प्रगतिशील छात्र इनका विरोध हिन्दू महिलाएं साड़ी,बिंदी,सिंदूर क्यो लगाती
एक लड़का भगवा धोती,कुर्ता पहने नाक में बाली,मांग में सिंदूर डाले उसका यह विरोध यह ड्रेस #महिलाओं की है इसका विरोध #पुरुषों को करना चाहिए
JNU का हिन्दू संस्कृति से विरोध
मानसिक विकृती जिसे #वामपंथ कहते pic.twitter.com/teWnxNqPmz
— Shefali Tiwari (@shefalitiwari7) January 4, 2021
Facebook user Siddharth Gajera also posted this picture. (Archive link)
फ़ोटो आपको समझ नही आएगा….
हम समझाते है…ये #JNU के प्रगतिशील छात्र है इनका विरोध है कि हिन्दू महिलाएं साड़ी, बिंदी, ओर…
Several other users have shared the photo with the same claim.
Alt News performed a reverse image search and found an article carrying the picture on the Bengali website Khaskhobor. It mentions that the person in the viral image is Panchali and has frequently been targeted by Right-wing users on social media.
We did a keyword search and found Panchali’s Instagram and Facebook profiles where the picture was shared on December 30, 2019. The caption stated that the image was shot in Kolkata’s Baghbazar during a Pride parade for the LGBTQ+ community. We did not find any information in Panchali’s bio which indicated that they are a JNU student.
We found more information about the 2019 Pride march in Kolkata’s Baghbazar. An article from Youth Ki Awaaz published on December 31, 2019 carried pictures from the Pride march. The website has posted Panchali’s photograph too.
Alt News contacted Panchali who informed us that the picture had been taken at the Kolkata Rainbow Pride March and has been circulating online since 2019. Panchali stated that there were slogans raised against the CAA at the march because the participants are opposed majoritarianism as it is supportive of the LGBTQ+ community. They clarified that this photo has nothing to do with JNU. “This picture has been making the rounds since 2019. It is from Kolkata Pride. Yes, there have been anti-CAA slogans in Pride because as much as it stand for LGBTQIA+ rights, it equivocally stands up against majoritarian oppression. This picture has got nothing to do with JNU,” Panchali told Alt News and added that they identify as a part of the LGBTQ+ community. Panchali works as a theatre artist and gender rights activist. They confirmed to us that they aren’t a JNU student.
In December 2019, anti-CAA demonstrations were held across the country. People can be also seen holding posters related to the movement during the Pride March. However, the claim that this picture or Panchali is related to JNU is false.