Asianet news have been sharing a news article from their Facebook page since June 1, 2019. The news article’s headline in Malayalam reads as follows:
“Kids imparted training to operate firearms in campus of a school owned by a BJP MLA; DYFI files complaint.”
Below is a screenshot of the Malayalam article published by Asianet:
The article reports that, DYFI have complained that arms training has been conducted in a school run by a BJP MLA. The article states that, Bajrang Dal have given arms training to school students in the campus of Seven Eleven School in Thane’s Mira Bhayandar. DYFI have approached police with the images of the arms training conducted in the school campus, the article reports. The news article further reads as follows:
“Police have started investigation. A BJP MLA Narendra Mehta owns the school. A Facebook user by the name of Prakash Gupta had shared the images of this training on his social media account. DYFI have reported these images to the Police.
The training had commenced on May 25th. The pictures show how the kids were trained on how to load and use weapons. DYFI have alleged that Bajrang Dal have conducted this training camp. This training was imparted a lot of people including children under the age of 14.
Despite, DYFI approaching Police and registering a complaint, no action was taken. Following which, DYFI approached the sub divisional police officer and registered a complaint with him. However, Bajrang Dal have informed the police that they have the license and other documents required to use guns.”
So are these allegations against Bajrang Dal and BJP MLA Narendra Mehta true? Let’s find out the facts!
Our Fact Check:
The name of the school is Seven Square Academy and not Seven Eleven as reported in the news article. Multiple national media websites have published this story along with Malayalam media websites. All these news articles have reported this incident based on the allegations leveled by DYFI. Here are the screenshots of some these articles:
|archived link||the hindu|
|archived link||times of india|
|archived link||abp majha|
Whereas, some media reports have included the statement from Police officials and have reported that these allegations are baseless. Here are the screenshots of some of these media reports:
In the above news report published by India Today on 2nd June 2019, have mentioned the response from Thane SDPO Atul Kulkarni, who has been quoted as follows:
“ We would have registered a case if there was any illegal activity, Prima facie no offence is seen. There was no sword or rifles at the event. Our authorities have visited the school campus. The pictures are of some other location. Our investigation suggests that information on how to use an air gun was shared. Use of air guns is not illegal. We are getting details of permission and investigating further.”
DYFI had reported the incident on the basis of the images that were shared on Facebook. The police have clarified that these images are not of the school campus. The BJP MLA from Mira Bhayandar, Narendra Mehta who owns the school has also been quoted as follows:
“We rent out the school campus during vacations. It was given to Bajrang Dal. But the photos of arms training are not from the event.”
Bajrang Dal’s Konkan region coordinator, Sandeep Bhagat has dismissed the allegations as ‘political conspiracy’, reports Outlook. The Outlook quotes him as such:
“The participants at Shaurya Prashikshan Varg 2019 did not handle guns. Some of our activists had brought air guns, which do not require license. We give training to students in rappelling, stick-fighting, running, long jump… We had given a letter to the police before the camp was held.”
When we conducted Google reverse image search of the image used in Asianet’s article, we found out that the image is not from Mumbai and is three years old. This image is from a counter-terror camp held by Bajrang Dal for youth in Ayodhya in May 2016. Here are the screenshots of the news articles that reported this incident with the help of the image reported by DYFI:
|archived link||India Today|
|archived link||This is money|
|archived link||Daily Mail|
|archived link||India Today|
The claim shared on Facebook is false. The image used to claim that Bajrang Dal had conducted arms training in Thane school is an old image and not related with the camp conducted by Bajrang Dal. The police have stated that prima facie they don’t see any offence has been committed. The BJP MLA, who owns the school and the Bajrang Dal representatives have also denied the allegations.
The image reported by DYFI as an evidence is an old image; police have confirmed that prima facie they have found the allegations baseless. The representatives of Police did not find any weapons in the school campus. Owing to these reasons, the narrative that arms training was imparted in Thane school as propagated on social media can be considered false.
Title:Fact Check: Did Bajrang Dal conduct arms training for kids in a school campus owned by a BJP MLA…?Fact Check By: Harish Nair