Former Infosys CFO Mohandas Pai has shared an old photo of Indira Gandhi which claims to show the former Prime Minister of India forcing then-JNUSU president and now CPI leader Sitaram Yechury to read out an apology letter to her during the Emergency in 1975. According to the caption, Gandhi had brought police with her to JNU and proceeded to beat up Yechury for protesting against the Emergency, before forcing an apology out of him.
“This is called Iron Hand dealing with communists. Amit Shah looks saint in front of her,” the caption further goes on to say.
Pai’s tweeted the photo and tagged Yechury, asking if it was true. The tweet, posted on 10 January, received 4.2K retweets and 8.7K likes. An archived version of his tweet can be viewed here.
Pai, however, is not the first person to have shared this photo, which has been doing the rounds on social media for a while.
Many others have also shared the photo with the same caption in the wake of the recent violent clashes at JNU.
1975, Emergency— अर्पिता जाना (@arpispeaks) January 9, 2020
Indira Gandhi enters JNU with Delhi Police n beats CPI leader @SitaramYechury who ws at that time President of JNUSU n forces him to resign n read an apology letter for protesting against emergency.
This is called Iron Hand dealing with Communists.
1975 Emergency— Sanjay Sharma (@SanjayS54672473) January 10, 2020
Indira Gandhi enters JNU with Delhi Police & beats left leader SitaramYechuri who was JNUSU president & force him to resign & read apology letter for protest against emergency
This is called Iron hand dealing with leftists
Amit shah is saint in front of her pic.twitter.com/hZq03XFFqf
@KarunaGopal1 @ShainaNC @smritiirani @TVMohandasPai @narendramodi @fayedsouza @ShivAroor @amitmalviya @RahulGandhi @SachinPilot Now i wud like d Cong. stooges to stand up n admit to wat dey did at JNU. Amit shah made a mistake to stick w/democratic response to dese Cong.hoodlums pic.twitter.com/A6lT6aheU4— Fighting For Life (@FightingForLif6) January 10, 2020
1975, Emergency Indira Gandhi enters JNU with Delhi Police n beats CPI leader @SitaramYechury who ws at that time...Posted by Uchhrang Jethwa on Thursday, January 9, 2020
In 1975 emergency, Indira Gandhi entered JNU with Delhi Police, beaten up Sitaram Yechuri who was president of JNU...Posted by Sushil Vaze on Friday, January 10, 2020
TRUE OR FALSE?
The Quint was able to confirm that the claim is fake and that no such incident had taken place.
The photo, while not doctored in any way, is being shared with a fake claim.
WHAT WE FOUND
On conducting a reverse image search on the photo, The Quint came across the same photo in an article titled “When JNU Students Forced Indira Gandhi To Resign” on a website called India Resists.
The caption along with the photo said that it was from September 1977 and identified both Indira Gandhi and Sitaram Yechury as the people in the photo. It further credited the photo to Hindustan Times.
It may be noted here that the Emergency was over by September 1977, having extended from 25 June 1975 to 21 March 1977. Therefore, the claim that this alleged incident took place during the Emergency is clearly false.
Further, the caption suggests that Yechury was in fact reading a memorandum presented by students to demand Gandhi’s resignation as Chancellor of the university.
"“Sitaram Yechury as a student leader in JNU reading the memorandum presented by students on September 5, 1977 to Indira Gandhi, demanding her resignation as chancellor of the university.”" - Caption of the photo
Moreover, on running a Google search with keywords Sitaram Yechury, Indira Gandhi and Hindustan Times, we came across an interview of Yechury published by the newspaper where the same photo had been used.
The caption of the photo here too was the same and said that it showed Yechury as a student leader in JNU reading out the memorandum to Gandhi demanding her resignation as the Chancellor of the university.
Moreover, multiple articles on the Internet corroborate that Yechury as the JNUSU president did indeed manage to make Gandhi resign as the Chancellor of JNU.
A copy by IANS also talks about the incident where the JNUSU forced Gandhi to hand in her resignation after the reading of the memorandum and some sloganeering. She quit her post the next day. The same anecdote is shared by Professor Chaman Lal, who was the author of the post on the website India Resists.
Moreover, the CPI(M) website also confirms that Yechury was in fact elected as President of JNU Students' Union thrice during one year (1977-78), which also matches the date given by Hindustan Times in their photo caption.
Therefore, it is clear that the photo shared by Pai bears a fake claim and has no basis in truth. It is being shared with this false context and claim in the backdrop of the violence at JNU and before that at Jamia, at a time when Amit Shah is being criticized for the police action as well inaction at times.
PRIOR INSTANCES OF PAI SHARING FAKE NEWS
This is not the first time Pai has fallen prey to fake news. In 2018, he had shared the “Top 10 List of Most Corrupt Political Party in the World 2018” that was doing the rounds.
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