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Fact Check: An image of lock-down violators falsely shared as mistreatment of migrant workers by Police

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 A photograph of police in UP's Kanpur punishing people for stepping out during a nationwide lockdown was falsely shared as migrant workers being mistreated.

Recently, amid the nationwide lockdown, a photograph of police making people squat and hold their ears was widely shared on social media with a claim that these were laborers who were punished for stepping out during the lockdown imposed to fight coronavirus outbreak in India.

Journalist Rana Ayyub shared this image with a caption "Punishing the laborers for leaving the lockdown. Cry my beloved country." Ayyub later deleted this tweet however its screenshot is doing rounds on social media. 

Historian William Dalrymple also shared the image with similar narratives but later took down his tweet. 

Till the time this tweet was deleted, it received more than 1500 retweets. 

The official Twitter handle of JNU Students’ Union. posted this picture with a caption, "A fish rots from the head down. The Prime Minister of India has uttered no word of condemnation against these shameless men in uniform who are 'punishing' jobless migrants trying to go home. The Home Minister is missing in action. India's future is in peril."

Journalist Abhisar Sharma shared presented this image with a similar claim in a video posted on March 30, 2020, on YouTube

One can see the visual at 12:31.


Following these widespread claims, a number of social media users started sharing a screenshot of a reverse image search suggesting that is an old picture from 2019 which is now being falsely shared in relation to the recent lockdown.

The truth behind the claim

With a help of a reverse image search, we found out that this photograph is from Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh where the police punished lockdown violators on March 24. 

This image was used in news reports by The Hindu, ABP news, The Telegraph, and the Outlook. According to the description attached to the image: “Kanpur: Police personnel punish offenders flouting lockdown guidelines, imposed in wake of coronavirus pandemic, at Chakeri area of Kanpur, Tuesday, March 24, 2020. (PTI Photo)” ABP Live credited the photograph to PTI. 

On March 24, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a 21-day lockdown in the country. There have been several news reports of workers across the country on the streets and laborers trying to get to their home states on foot. However, this viral image is was taken before these reports came. 

Why social media users claiming the image to be from 2019 is wrong?

Google reverse image search lists all the webpages indexed by Google(search engine) where this image has been used. The image doesn't need to be part of the article. Even if the image has been used in a suggested article, it will come in reverse image search result.

We had explained it in detail with examples in a Twitter thread last year. 

In conclusion, a photograph of police in UP's Kanpur punishing people for stepping out during a nationwide lockdown was falsely shared as migrant workers being mistreated.

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