Viral photo of armed men is old and does not show RSS members

On May 4, one Facebook user who goes by the name ‘Thajudeen J’ posted a photo of men armed with machetes and axes. It was claimed that these men are members of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the ideological patron of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The text inscribed in the photo reads, “#RSS #The_Real_Terrorists_in_India”. The post has amassed over 33,000 shares.

Facebook user Hazrat Hussain posted the photo with the message, “The terrorist of RSS India”, on April 24, 2020.

The image was also shared on Twitter with the same narrative.

Fact-check

With a reverse image search, Alt News found that the image was posted in a blog ‘Factsbd‘ on March 5, 2013. The image was posted along with other two images in a collage titled, “Bangladesh Chatra League : They are back in action”. Bangladesh Chatra League is the student wing of Bangladesh’s ruling party, the Awami League. The images have been credited to Bangladesh news website Poriborton.com

Furthermore, we found the image posted in another blog titled, “How was the 5 years of development of Chhatra League – tell me by looking at the pictures (-Google translated)”. The blogpost was dated December 8, 2013. The photo has a watermark of a now non-existent website SylhetTimes24.com.

Moreover, Factly pointed out that the colour of the headscarf worn by the armed men is similar to the colours seen in the logo of Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL), Awami League’s flag and the Bangladeshi flag. This further indicates that the image could well be from Bangladesh. We also found Awami League parts men sporting similar caps. It is also noteworthy that RSS cadre is known to sport saffron clothing, not green and red.

Therefore, an old image most likely from Bangladesh was shared with the false claim that it showed members of RSS armed with sharp weapons.

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