Fact Check: No, BJP worker didn’t have a George Floyd moment with Kerala police

Fact Check: No, BJP worker didn't have a George Floyd moment with Kerala police

Fact Check: No, BJP worker didn’t have a George Floyd moment with Kerala police

Rohit Kumar, Editor: Kerala’s sensational gold smuggling case, currently under probe by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), has brought the CPI (M)-led government in the state under scrutiny. Kerala is witnessing widespread protests by various opposition parties demanding the state’s Minister for Higher Education KT Jaleel’s resignation. Jaleel was questioned by the NIA over his alleged involvement in the Rs 15 crore worth gold smuggling case.

Amid this, an image of a police officer squatting over a man is viral on social media with a claim that it shows Kerala police brutality on a BJP worker. Several netizens called the photograph a George Floyd moment. Floyd, an African-American, was killed in the US during an arrest for allegedly using a counterfeit bill.

The caption to one such image uploaded on Twitter reads, “This is how Kerala Police deal with @BJP4Keralam and @YUVAMORCHABJP at Thiruvananthapuram on #KTJaleelResign protest!”

The truth

  • India Today Anti Fake News War Room (AFWA) has found that the viral claim is misleading. While some social media users portrayed the man as a BJP worker, the man being pinned down by a cop in the photo is a Youth Congress worker. The incident has no connection with BJP.
  • The image was also shared on Facebook with similar claims.
  • The archived version of the posts can be seen here, here, and here.

AFWA probe

The Kerala gold smuggling case has the opposition in the state – Congress and BJP – up in arms after 30 kilos of smuggled gold was seized by Customs at Thiruvananthapuram Airport from a diplomatic bag.

The key accused in the case, Swapna Suresh, has alleged links to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s office, including the CM’s principal secretary and Higher Education Minister KT Jaleel.

India Today reached out to AN Radhakrishnan, BJP Kerala state vice president to understand the facts behind the image in question. Radhakrishnan confirmed to us that the man in the viral image is not a BJP worker.

“BJP workers have clashed with Kerala police in various districts as part of the ongoing protests in connection with the gold scam. However, none of our cadets were pinned down on the road by police as seen in the viral image,” Radhakrishnan told India Today.

With a reverse image search, we also found that the man in the viral photograph is Antony, a Youth Congress worker and the incident took place on September 13, 2020, in Ernakulam district of Kerala.

We found the same image carried in multiple news reports.

Youth Congress protest against KT Jaleel

According to The News Minute report published on September 15, 2020, the incident took place when Youth Congress workers blocked Jaleel’s convoy in the middle of a highway in Kochi. Protesters waved black flags demanding his resignation after he was questioned by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with the gold smuggling case.

“While some protesters were chased away by the police manning the roads, Antony fell and when he was trying to get up, a police officer saw to it that he was pinned to the ground, till Jaleel’s convoy passed,” the report further said.

We also found the same image carried by Malayalam daily newspaper Malayala Manorama crediting the image to its chief photojournalist Josekutty Panackal. The caption to the image in the Malayalam language translates to English as, “A police officer was seen paving the way for Minister KT Jaleel’s vehicle to pass by squatting on the body of a Youth Congress activist who showed a black flag to Jaleel.”

Manorama’s photojournalist Josekutty has also shared a video clip of the incident telecast by Manorama News on his Facebook page.

State Congress vice-president PC Vishnunadh also shared the viral image on his official Facebook page condemning the police attack on Congress workers.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply