On January 18, Congress media panellist Surendra Rajput shared a letter allegedly written by a BJP leader. The letter quotes Rajesh Bhatia of BJP Delhi talking about dispersing protesting farmers and putting a stop to the farmers’ Tractor Rally to be held on Republic Day. Although the tweet has now been deleted, an archived version can be found here.
Congress leader Alka Lamba also shared the image, questioning whether the letter suggesting BJP’s intent of violence against protesting farmers is genuine.
किसान आंदोलन को हिंसा के रास्ते कुचलने की साज़िश के तहत जारी किए गए इस पत्र की सच्चाई क्या है यह जानना और समय रहते उसे रोकने की सख़्त ज़रूरत है- कहीं #दिल्ली दंगो की तरह इस बार भी देरी ना हो जाए।@DelhiPolice 🇮🇳🙏#FarmersProtest @INCIndia pic.twitter.com/iyUM2Jje2J
— Alka Lamba – अल्का लाम्बा 🇮🇳🙏 (@LambaAlka) January 17, 2021
Several people compared the letter to Kapil Mishra’s incendiary speech before the Delhi riots.
इसे दिल्ली दंगो से पहले #शाहीनबाग जैसे शांतिपूर्ण लोकतांत्रिक प्रदर्शन को दबाने के लिए कपिल मिश्रा के नफ़रत भरे भाषण के तरह #किसान_आंदोलन को दबाने के लिए आगे होने वाली कोई घटना की धमकी समझा जाए या कुछ और? pic.twitter.com/krJ6yyxnE4
— Naved Sheikh (@navedns1) January 17, 2021
A reverse-image search also took us to a report by The Ocean News Point published in September 2018 which carries the news o Ashok Goyal given the post of the chief of the media department of BJP Delhi. The report includes a scanned copy of BJP Delhi letterhead with the signature of Rajesh Bhatia, then general secretary of BJP state unit. This signature matches the one on the viral letter. His designation is also the same in both even though Bhatia is no longer BJP Delhi general secretary.
The similarities have been highlighted below.
A closer further reveals that the letter has been edited. The text on the original letter is quite clear whereas the same appears blurred in the edited letter.
BJP Delhi leader Rajesh Bhatia clarified that the viral letter is fake. He said that some miscreants took a BJP letterhead and forged his signature on a letter with objectionable language toward the protesting farmers. He condemned the disinformation and wrote that he respects his farmer brothers and sisters.
कुछ देशद्रोहीयों ने @BJP4Delhi के लेटर हेड पर मेरे फर्जी हस्ताक्षर कर किसानों के प्रति आपत्तिजनक भाषा लिखी है,मैं इसकी कड़ी निंदा करता हूँ,मैं किसान भाई बहनों प्रति सम्मान रखता हूँ।@narendramodi @JPNadda @blsanthosh @PandaJay @adeshguptabjp @siddharthanbjp @TajinderBagga pic.twitter.com/HBtO7W69Sw
— Rajesh Bhatia (@rajeshbhatiabjp) January 17, 2021
In the above complaint, Bhatia has described himself as former BJP general secretary and in-charge of the Delhi unit. He also tweeted a news report about the fake letter.
— Rajesh Bhatia (@rajeshbhatiabjp) January 18, 2021
A fake letter was therefore posted online calling for forceful disbanding of the farmer protests. It was falsely attributed to BJP leader Rajesh Bhatia.