An image of a toddler grievously injured is massively circulating on social media with the claim that s/he was hurt during protests against the Citizenship Amendment Bill in West Bengal. “पश्चिम बंगाल में मुसलमान द्वारा किया गया ट्रेन पर पथराव से बच्चे आंख फूट गई इसका जिम्मेदार कौन है (A toddler’s eye was damaged by Muslims in West Bengal who were pelting stones on a train. Who is responsible for this?)” – reads a part of the message blaming Muslim protesters for the child’s condition. From a Facebook page ‘Sunil dubey’ the post has garnered 10,000 shares.
The message shared with the image is as follows: “पश्चिम बंगाल में मुसलमान द्वारा किया गया ट्रेन पर पथराव से बच्चे आंख फूट गई इसका जिम्मेदार कौन है इस बच्चे का CAB से क्या लेना देना है ये बच्चा अपने माता पिता के साथ ट्रैन से यात्रा कर रहे थे यात्रा के दौरान CAB का विरोध कर रहे लोगो ने बंगाल मैं ट्रेन पर पथराव किया और बच्चे को चोट लग गई शायद आँख नही बच पाएगी ये कैसा विरोध है और ये विरोध क्यू है (A toddler’s eye was damaged by Muslims in West Bengal who were pelting stones on a train. Who is responsible for this? What is this child’s connection with CAB? He was commuting with his mom and dad in the train when during protests in West Bengal, stones were pelted at the train and the child was hurt. Perhaps his eye will not be saved. What kind of protest is this? Why is it happening?)”
A user Abhishek Acharya Kulshrestha, who is followed by top BJP brass – PM Modi, Amit Shah, Nirmala Sitharaman, Piyush Goyal and Smriti Irani – also shared the image. Kulshrestha identifies himself as the co-convenor of social media and IT, BJP Delhi.
His tweet reads, “What was the mistake of this toddler that he will remain one eyed for the rest of his life? He was on his way to hospital in an ambulance when a stone missiled into his eye.Dis hppend in West Bengal two days ago.Stones were pelted on the ambulance by PEACEFUL PROTESTERS of Mamta.”
A reverse image search of the photograph on Yandex led us to several links where it has been shared with varied claims – Pakistani users shared it as Kashmir (2019); uploaded on a website as American massacre in Afghanistan (2018); claimed to be from Russia (2017). However, the oldest instance we found dates back to 2016.
It was uploaded by a user on November 24, 2016, with the caption, “As the heinous CrimesAgainstWomen r increasing everyday, what @PMOIndia @HMOIndia @CPDelhi is doing?! @DaminiAndolan.”
While Alt News could not establish the origin of the photograph, its existence since at least 2016 is proof that it cannot be representative of an incident that took place amidst recent anti-CAA protests in West Bengal.
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The image and the accompanying false claim was shared by Anima Sonkar who identifies herself on Twitter as Delhi state joint secretary of ABVP.
It has also found its way on Instagram.