A set of images along with a donation appeal was shared by the official Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) Facebook page with the claim that the individuals in the images were Seva Bharati workers aiding Kerala flood victims. One of the images shared as part of this set shows a reporter with many people standing in the background including a few wearing khakhi shorts resembling the old RSS uniform.

Posted by Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) on Saturday, 11 August 2018

The image was also widely circulated by many on social media, including the Twitter handle Friends of RSS, which describes itself as an “independent initiative by Swayamsevaks”.

The image is from 2012 Kerala floods

The photograph shared by RSS is not of the recent Kerala floods and was taken during the 2012 floods in the state. The reporter in the image had shared the image that same year.

In August 2012 flash floods triggered by heavy rains in Kozhikode and Kannur districts in north Kerala took the lives of nine people. An image of this event was shared as RSS workers providing aid during the recent Kerala floods. However, this isn’t the only old image reshared with a false narrative.

Images of 2017 Gujarat floods viral on social media as recent Kerala floods

Purported images of RSS workers providing aid and relief to flood-stricken Kerala was widespread on social media with captions carrying a tinge of irony – “Looks like Kerela couldn’t kill all of those RSS Terrorists. Few of them are still alive and are looting the poor flood-struck Keralites.”

Twitter users Rishi Bagree and Rajesh KrishnanSimha circulated the same images that drew a combined share of 1,500.

BJP MLA from Karnataka C.T. Ravi also shared photographs of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s “humanitarian efforts”.

However, these images are actually from Gujarat last year and not Kerala. SM Hoax Slayer found identical images being circulated of RSS workers providing aid during Gujarat flood in August 2017. Multiple users on Facebook had shared the images.

Severe monsoon flooding killed at least 213 in Gujarat last year. Over one lakh residents had to be relocated due to submergence of their homes.

Not isolated incidents

Old or unrelated images have been attributed to RSS several times in the past. In 2015, images of RSS workers in Gujarat was shared as them providing aid during the Nepal earthquake.

Dattatreya Hosabele, a senior RSS functionary based in Nepal, had denied the claims on social media as reported by Nistula Hebbar, the political editor of The Hindu.

Further, the official Twitter handle of RSS had also denied the claim of 20000 RSS workers having reached Nepal.

Last year, Twitter handle @TrueIndology also falsely attributed a picture of a camp in late 1940s East Punjab to RSS.

Recirculating old images as part of a recent or an unrelated event is a mischievous attempt to misinform people. It is advisable to verify photographs viral on social media before believing in them.

Update: The official Facebook page of RSS which shared the old image has now updated the post and added a description to the picture, clarifying that it was clicked in 2012.

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About the Author

Pooja Chaudhuri is a senior editor at Alt News.