Bangladeshi Women Falsely Identified as Hindu Freedom Fighters

Sonal Gupta
·3-min read

A set of two images of four women carrying rifles on a jeep is being shared with a false claim that it shows ‘female freedom fighters’ from the 1971 Liberation Movement. The claim goes on to state that when the black and white image was taken the females were Hindu, but they had been converted to Islam by the time the coloured image was taken.

However, we found out that while the first image was taken in 1961, the other was a recreation of the same in 2017. The image was shared on social media by Renan Ahmed, the grandson of one of the depicted women, who told The Quint that the women were neither freedom fighters, nor Hindus.

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CLAIM

The set of images was shared by Facebook page, ‘The Squint’, garnering over 4,600 likes at the time of writing this article.

You can view an archived version <a href="https://perma.cc/6X8T-S7Y8" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:here" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">here</a>.
You can view an archived version here.
You can view an archived version <a href="https://perma.cc/JQ4Z-UD6X" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:here" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">here</a>.
You can view an archived version here.

The images were also shared on Twitter with the same claim in Hindi.

You can view an archived version <a href="https://archive.is/IiXx8" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:here" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">here</a>.
You can view an archived version here.

Shriraj Nair, the spokesperson of the Vishva Hindu Parishad, also shared the two images with a similar claim.

You can view an archived version <a href="https://archive.is/iosiV#selection-3013.0-3013.252" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:here" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">here</a>.
You can view an archived version here.

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WHAT WE FOUND OUT

With a reverse image search we came across the black and white image on Pinterest with the caption, “Women are posing with gun in a village trip. Bangladesh (1965) Photo courtesy- Renan Ahmed.”

Through a keyword search we also found the image on Facebook page called, ‘Bangladesh Old Photo Archive’ with the same caption.

We then looked up Renan Ahmed on Facebook, and found his profile, where he had also shared the original image, with the caption, ‘1961.’

Ahmed told The Quint’s WebQoof team over text that the image was taken in 1961 and shows “wives of established businessmen posing with rifles after their husbands came back from hunting.”

He further stated that the coloured image is a recreation of the original image, taken in 2017 and the woman at the front left is his grandmother, Rokeya Ahmed.

He rubbished the claims that they were freedom fighters and Hindus, stating that they are all Muslims by birth.

He added that they were “business people of undivided Bengal and had a house and business in Delhi, Ranchi, Raigarh and Kolkata. However, they came back during the 1947 partition.”

He also sent us more photos of the women on the jeep and his grandfather, who had captured the now viral image.

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We also came across a report by Bangledeshi daily, Prothom Alo, debunking the viral claim.

They interviewed the daughter-in-law of one of the women on the jeep, who confirms that they are not freedom fighters and the picture was taken during a hunting trip. The women have been identified as Ayesha Rahman, Rokeya Ahmed, Rashida Ahmed and Shahana Ahmed.

Evidently, an image of Bangladeshi women has been circulated to make false claims.

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