JNU Protests: Social Media Flooded With Misinformation On Protesters

The misinformation appears to be designed at undermining protests and creating false narratives about the university's students.
Image shows misleading posts about JNU

As protest by JNU students continue over fees hike, misleading posts aimed at showing protesters in "poor light" have spread through social media.

BOOM rounds up a list of such posts going viral right now:

1. Picture Of JNU Student Viral With Misleading Claims

Two weeks into the protest, we spotted a post by BJP Haryana Spokesperson Raman Malik, claiming to show the indulgent lifestyle of protesters demanding a roll back of the proposed hike in fees.

The post contained two pictures - of a woman holding a bottle of alcohol, and another holding a placard, with Malik insinuating that they were both the same person.



BOOM ran a reverse image search of the first pic and found it being posted on multiple forums (here and here) as a part of a compilation of images of women drinking alcohol.

The first instance of the image on the internet was found to be on a Facebook post by a Bengali page with the caption "Drinking alcohol is haram (translated from Bengali)", dated August 27, 2015.

BOOM was unable to independently ascertain the identity of the person in the image.

However, we were able to determine that the person holding the placard is JNU student Priyanka Bharti, who posted the same image on her Facebook account on November 11, 2019.

Image shows Screenshot of the image posted by Priyanka Bharti on her Facebook page
Screenshot of the image posted by Priyanka Bharti on her Facebook page.

BOOM got in touch with Bharti who denied being the person drinking alcohol in the other photo.

"That other image is not of JNU and that is not me at all, but I've been receiving a lot of vulgar messages because of this," said Bharti.

2. Picture Of Activist Annie Raja Shared As JNU Protestor

Twitter account Atheist Krishna fanclub shared an image of women's rights activist Annie Raja, claiming to show a "first year student" being arrested by Delhi police.



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The account claims to have been inspired by Twitter user Atheist Krishna, a right-wing satirist whose satirical posts have gone viral as misinformation on many instances in the past.

Going by the comments, people appeared to truly believe that she was a JNU student.

However, we ascertained that the person in the photo is in fact of Annie Raja being detained by the police during a protest against CJI Ranjan Gogoi's acquittal of sexual harassment charges in May 2019.

Read our story here.

3. Lahore Student Protest Being Shared As JNU

A video of students protesting with "Azaadi" slogans was posted on Facebook with the caption, "JNU for you" (caption deleted later on).

We found out that the video originated from Pakistan's Faiz Literary Festival in Lahore, and has no link to the current JNU agitation.

Read out story here.

4. Misleading Posts Falsely Claim To Show 43-Year old JNU Student

A thumbnail from a Zee News segment on the JNU protests went viral, claiming to show the image of a 43-year old JNU student. The captions also claimed that her daughter is a JNU student as well.

BOOM ascertained that the person in the photo is 23-year old Shambhavi Siddhi, a Master’s student of the French department of JNU.

Read our story here.

5. Morphed Image Of Shehla Rashid Revived

A photo of former JNUSU Vice-President Shehla Rashid wearing a green sari with crescent moon and star (resembling the Pakistani flag) went viral on Facebook.

We found out that the original image was shot in Manhattan and did not contain the crescent moon and star, thus suggesting that the photo was doctored.

Read out story here.

6. 2012 Nirbhaya Protest Image Revived

An image of a policeman striking a woman protester during 2012 Nirbhaya gang rape case in Delhi has been revived in the wake of the current JNU protests.

The picture has been used to paint various narratives - either supporting or condemning the protests and the instances of police brutality.

However, it is an image from December 2012, taken by a Reuters journalist, and has no link to the current JNU protests.

Read our story here.

7. Photo Of Woman In Muharram Procession Falsely Linked To JNU

An image of a woman bleeding from her head went viral as a photo of a JNU student injured during the police crackdown of a protest march for the demand of roll back of proposed fees hike.

However, the image originates from 2005 and shows the mourning procession during the tenth day of Muharram (called the day of the Ashura).

Read out story here.

8. Photo Of MPhil Student Viral With False Claims

A screen grab of a Zee News bulletin on JNU protests went viral recently with the claim that one of the protesters is 47-year old Moinuddin from Kerala, who has allegedly been a student there for 30 years.

BOOM ascertained that the person in the photo is actually 30-year-old JNU MPhil student Pankaj Kumar Mishra, who enrolled in the varsity earlier this year.

Read out story here.

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