Thousands of farmers continue their agitation for the repeal of the three farm laws and legal backing for a minimum support price. Hindustan Times reported that the seventh round of talks, on January 4, between the protestors and the government remained inconclusive.

In the backdrop of this, an image of a Sikh man on the National Geographic magazine’s cover page has gone viral on social media. Several people on Facebook and Twitter have shared this image.

The purported cover picture was posted on Twitter by Col Tekpal Singh (Retd), AAP supporter Raj Lali Gill, Congress leader Ajoy Kumar, Justice for Farmers (Jas Kaur) and Amarbir Singh who criticised the BJP government. (Archived links 1,2,3,4 and 5)

Fact-check

The top right corner of the cover reads ‘Winter 2020’. Alt News viewed the cover pages of National Geographic magazine on the official website for November and December 2020 and neither found an image of a Sikh man nor the magazine dedicating the cover picture to the ongoing farmers’ protests in India. Furthermore, none of the cover pictures since June 2020 (when the farm bills were passed) and this month’s (January 2021) cover picture feature the image.

Additionally, we observed that the viral image carries the watermark ‘@anoopreet’ and the volume number mentioned is ‘1984 NO.2’

  • Watermark @anoopreet: We looked up this handle on Instagram and found that the viral image was indeed posted by one @anoopreet on January 4. As per the image caption, the National Geographic cover is conceptual in nature and the picture was clicked by PTI photojournalist Ravi Choudhary on December 27, 2020.
  • Volume number: ‘Vol 1984 NO.2’ further establishes that it is a conceptual work of art. The year 1984 marks a dark period in Indian history when anti-Sikh riots took place. As per Justice Nanavati Commission on Inquiry, more than 3,000 Sikhs were killed between October 31, 1984, and November 7, 1984.

Thus, conceptual artwork by Instagram user @anoopreet was shared on the internet with the false claim that National Geographic magazine featured a Sikh man on its cover page during farmers’ protest.

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About the Author

Archit is a graduate in English Literature from The MS University of Baroda. He also holds a post-graduation diploma in journalism from the Asian College of Journalism. Since then he has worked at Essel Group's English news channel at WION as a trainee journalist, at S3IDF as a fundraising & communications officer and at The Hindu as a reporter. At Alt News, he works as a fact-checking journalist.