[Warning: The visuals depict violence and can be distressing for some. Viewer discretion is advised.]

On January 25, a large number of the applicants of the RRB-NTPC exams in UP had gathered to protest on railway tracks in Prayagraj against the Railways’ decision to hold the exam in two stages. During the protest, the students were chased down by the police and some students allegedly responded by pelting stones. In response to this, the police forcefully entered a nearby hostel and lathi-charged students. A video of the police excess went viral on social media after which six policemen were suspended.

Reporting on the protest on January 28, Dainik Jagran published an article that carried an alleged photo of a student injured in police violence.

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Based on Jagran’s report, the same photo was shared on Twitter by journalist Anup Panday.

The photo is viral on Facebook as well with the claim that it shows a student injured in the recent protest.

Old, unrelated image

We performed a Google reverse image search on the photo and discovered that it is at least two years old and has been viral in various languages. It first went viral on Facebook in Bangladesh with the claim that the person in the photo had violated COVID lockdown guidelines and as a result, the police thrashed him. It was shared with a series of photos that suggests how the incident unfolded.

While one of the three photos (vegetables scattered on the road) is from West Bengal, the image of cops thrashing a man has been morphed. The policewoman is not wearing a mask in the original photograph. The photos had enraged the public in Bangladesh when they were viral last year, following which the Bangladeshi police issued a statement debunking the claim.

The same photo of the injured youth was viral in Malaysia in 2020 with the claim that the soldiers of the Malaysian Armed Forces assaulted a boy while enforcing the movement control order (MCO). It was debunked by the Armed Forces saying that the photo is originally from Bangladesh and was uploaded in 2019.

The Armed Forces did not provide any links to the original photos from Bangladesh but taking their word as a clue, we further looked for the photos and found them on a Bangladeshi Facebook page uploaded in July 2019. Alt News could not find the original context of the photos. This is the oldest instance of the photo that we were able to trace.

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Hence, an old and unrelated photo was published by Dainik Jagran to depict police brutality on protesting students in Uttar Pradesh. The image is at least three years old.

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About the Author

Kalim is a journalist with a keen interest in tech, misinformation, culture, etc