The picture of a Kashmiri boy, who was named as a Kashmiri rage boy by various media outlets in 2006, has all of a sudden started trending on social networking sites in Australian political meme.
The picture has been shared hundreds of times on Australian Facebook pages in 2019 in a meme that claims he “won’t stand for Anzac Day, will stand for a welfare payment”, reported AFP’s fact check website.
The picture is actually from Kashmir showing a local activist named Shakeel Ahmad Bhat, 31, during a protest demonstration on September 15, 2006, when a number of protests were reported against Pope Benedict XVI for his derogatory comments about Islam, and seeking an apology from him for hurting the sentiments of Muslims.
“The image is being used in a misleading context; it was actually taken in 2006 by the Associated Press news agency and shows a Kashmiri activist at a demonstration in Indian-administered Kashmir.
The photo was shared in a Facebook post on April 25, 2019, by a page with more than 22,000 followers. It has been shared nearly 1,000 times. The text on the image states: Won’t stand for Anzac Day, will stand for a welfare payment. Freedom of speech productions Australian right wing memes and news” reported the website.
Anzac Day is an annual commemoration on April 25 for those who have served in the armed forces of Australia and New Zealand.
The facebook post’s caption was shared with a series of hashtags: “#FreedomOfSpeechProductions #FreedomOfSpeechProductionsUSA #KimVugaLoveAustraliaorLeaveParty #AussieStuffForAussies #AussiesLoudandProud #Truthophobes #DeportTheGrandMufti.”
“Grand Mufti” refers to the Islamic leader of a state. The current Grand Mufti of Australia is Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohammed, according to the page on the Australian National Imams Council website.
The same meme also appears with no caption in the Facebook post dated April 25, 2019, which has been shared hundreds of times.
The misleading Facebook posts offered no evidence that Bhat has any connection to Australia, New Zealand, or Anzac Day. The AFP quoted Bhat’s lawyer Mir Shafqat Hussain as saying, “Shakeel Ahmed Bhat, known as Muslim Rage Boy is my client. He is at his home in Srinagar at the moment and regularly appears in the court here for numerous cases against him. Bhat doesn’t have a passport and so cannot travel abroad.”
In 2006, the Guardian had profiled Bhat, identifying him as a resident of Malik Angan, Fateh Kadal, who is a school drop-out and former militant, who had been arrested more than 300 times. He spends days away from his widowed mother, four brothers, and his sister, traveling to protests or attending court hearings.