Misinformation is on a rise since farmers began protesting the union government’s farm bills. Recently, several Facebook users shared a picture of a man in a blue turban and holding a ‘WE WANT KHALISTAN’ placard. It is being suggested that the farmers’ protest is being led by Sikhs who want to establish a sovereign state of Khalistan and that ‘real’ farmers are not a part of the movement.
Facebook user Ranjana Jain shared the image along with the caption, “They don’t want farm laws but Khalistan. They are shaming farmers across the country.”
(Translated from: “इन्हे कृषि कानून नहीं खालिस्तान चाहिए पुरे देश के किसानों को शर्मसार कर रहे हैं.”)
इन्हे कृषि कानून नहीं खालिस्तान चाहिए
पुरे देश के किसानों को शर्मसार कर रहे हैं
The screenshot below shows the extent to which the claim is viral.
— अंकिता सिंह (@indiaAnkita) November 30, 2020
We did a reverse image search on Google and found numerous articles where the image was used for representational purposes. Some reports gave credit to AFP while others to Getty Images. We looked for the image on Getty which has credited AFP’s stringer Narinder Nanu.
According to its description, “Activists from various radical Sikh organizations after prayers at Sri Akal Takht at the Golden Temple in Amritsar stood holding placards in support of Sikh leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and Khalistan on June 06, 2013.” This was on the 29th anniversary of Operation Bluestar. Tribune India also reported about the event.
Therefore, a 7-year-old image of a group of Sikhs holding a placard in support of Khalistan state has been falsely linked to the farmers’ protest.
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