A video of a pro-Palestine rally organised by the Welfare Party Kerala in Kozhikode city, while holding flags of the party, is being shared with a false claim that supporters carried the Italian flag in the rally instead of the Palestinian flag.
As the death toll in Gaza, Palestine increases everyday, several Muslim and citizens groups in India are carrying out support rallies calling for Israel to end the airstrikes on the enclave. More than 8000 people, mostly women and children have died after Israel launched retaliatory airstrikes on Palestine in what they claim is an attempt to erase Islamist terror group Hamas who control the strip. The war was triggered after Hamas launched an unprecedented attack on Israel on October 7, leading to the death of about 1400 people, majorly civilians.
The conflict has also led to a deluge of mis and disinformation on social media platforms especially X (formerly Twitter) with several Indian verified accounts sharing anti Palestine and pro Israel misinformation. BOOM has debunked several such fake and false posts being shared on social media since the conflict began.
Read factchecks about the Israel- Palestine conflict on BOOM's WhatsApp Channel here
The video is being shared with a false claim that the supporters carried the flag of Italy (green, white and red) instead of the Palestian flag which is black, white and green with a red triangle.
Tejinder Pal Singh Bagga, the national secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, youth wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) shared the video claiming, "Hamas terrorists supporters gathered in Kerala, instead of carrying Palestine flag they carried Italy Flag". BOM has previously debunked several communally charged pieces of misinformation shared by Bagga.
The claim is also viral on Facebook with similar captions claiming the attendees carried the wrong flag.
BOOM found that the flag being carried at the rally was the official flag of the Welfare Party of Kerala. While the flag has the same colours as the Italian flag, the Welfare Party flag has two additions - wheat stalks in the centre and Welfare Party written beside it.
We noticed that in the viral video the large banner in the front had 'Welfare Party Kerala' written at the bottom. This was also visible on other placards being carried by some supporters in the rally.
We ran a search for the same on Facebook and found a verified page for Welfare Party Kerala, the Kerala unit of the political party Welfare Party of India. The display photo of the page carried the party logo which matched the flag seen in the viral video - three stripes of green, white and read with an addition of two golden coloured wheat stalks and Welfare Party of India written on it.
A search on the page showed several posts about a Gaza Solidarity March held on October 17 in Kozhikode region of Kerala. The post from October 17, carried photos from the rally where the flag with wheat stalks in the centre was clearly visible.
A specific keyword search for the rally led us to a clearer Facebook reels video uploaded by a social worker which matched the viral video. Using the Magnifier tool we zoomed in and found that the flag had the two wheat stalks on the white stripe, as in the party logo. The Italian flag does not have any such design on it.
A comparison of the Italian flag and the Welfare Party flag seen in the viral is below :
Additionally, we also found a thread posted by the Kerala wing of the Welfare Party of India on X (formerly Twitter) calling out those who shared the false claim.