A TikTok video of a cell tower on fire has been viral on social media for the past few days. Several users are linking this clip to the ongoing farmers’ protests. Farmers vandalised 1,500 Jio cell towers in Punjab on December 29, 2020, venting anger against Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance which they believe to benefit out of the farm laws. A Facebook page titled ‘Kisan Ekta Morcha’ posted the clip claiming that it shows one such tower. It received over 14,000 views at the time of writing. (Archive link)
#जियो का टावर जलाया गया
Kisan Ekta Morcha हिंसा की निंदा करता है
Posted by Kisan Ekta Morcha on Monday, December 28, 2020
Twitter user @IncKinju tweeted the video and accompanying claim, where it received more than 5,600 views at the time of writing. (Archive link)
— Kinju_inc (@IncKinju) December 28, 2020
Another Facebook page named ‘A.H. Khan’ also shared this video. It was viewed more than 1,300 times at the time of writing. (Archive link)
जियो का टावर किया स्वाहा😝😜😜😜
Posted by 𝐀.𝐇.𝐊𝐡𝐚𝐧 on Wednesday, December 30, 2020
This clip is viral on Facebook.
First of all, these visuals cannot be recent because this is a TikTok video. The central government banned the mobile application back in June 2020.
Alt News performed a reverse image search of a few frames of the video and found an Amar Ujala report dated June 28, 2017. It says that the incident occurred in Dehradun. It also includes some other photos of the cell tower. The article states, “A fire broke out at the cell tower installed on the roof of Shakti Kumar Mehta, a resident of Ankitpuram’s GMS Road. The fire broke out at around five in the morning on Wednesday. The flames quickly grew prompting those in the neighbourhood to come out of their houses. They feared that the tower would fall and called the fire station. Fire engines quickly reached the spot and they extinguished the blaze. According to the Fire Department, the fire occurred due to a short circuit.”
News18 Hindi also did a video story about this fire on June 29, 2017.
Therefore, social media users falsely linked a June 2017 clip of a burning cell tower in Dehradun to the farmers’ protests.
Independent journalism that speaks truth to power and is free of corporate and political control is possible only when people start contributing towards the same. Please consider donating towards this endeavour to fight fake news and misinformation.