A photograph of children holding green coloured flags in their hands started circulating on social media on Republic Day. It was claimed that these were Muslim school children in Kerala who boycotted the singing of Vande Mataram that day and also hoisted Islamic flags instead of the tricolour.
The photograph has been shared widely on Twitter and Facebook. The Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Vaibhav Aggarwal asked Alt News to investigate the veracity of the image.
Photos used with similar narrative in the past
Interestingly, Alt News found that the same photographs had been circulated in the past as well, around the time of Independence Day. The narrative was the same – Muslim school children in Kerala had hoisted Islamic flags while refusing to sing the national song.
ShankhNaad, which has spread misinformation in the past, had also earlier tweeted the same photograph, claiming that the incident had occurred at a school in Kerala during Independence Day celebrations in 2014.
What is the truth?
The flags seen in the photographs are the official banner of the Indian Union Muslim League, a political party based in Kerala. The party flag is presented below.
The photographs of children holding these flags, which have been circulating for a few years now, are neither from any Independence Day celebration nor Republic Day celebration. The images are part of the Indian Union Muslim League’s next generation rally that took place in May 2013 in Malappuram district of Kerala. The photographs of this event were posted on the party’s Facebook page.
Upon juxtaposing the images side-by-side, it can be made out that the van with the yellow coloured back and the green bus are present in both the pictures, thus establishing that both the pictures represent the same event.
The fact that messages like these circulate on national events like Republic Day and Independence Day points to an organised campaign to malign certain sections of society and question their patriotism.
This article first appeared on Alt News. It has been lightly edited.