After the January 26 clashes during farmer’s tractor rally, there has been an organised effort to build a false narrative about the events that transpired. Several Facebook and Twitter users have now claimed that Aaj Tak anchor Navjyot Randhawa was attacked by a Muslim man pretending to be a Sikh during the Republic Day protest. As per the claim, Aaj Tak suppressed this news because the accused was from the minority religion.

Twitter users @Im_Ricky_in and @SomaliBhattach5 posted this claim, garnering 200 retweets each.

The complete message in Hindi reads, “ये नवज्योत रंधावा हैं, आजतक चैनल में एंकर हैं। आप शायद इन्हें पहचानते भी होंगे। 26 जनवरी पर किसानों की ट्रैक्टर रैली को कवर करने के लिए सिंघु बॉर्डर गई थीं। वहाँ पर एक सिख युवक इनके पीछे पड़ गया। सिंघु बॉर्डर से वो लालक़िले आ गईं तो पीछे-पीछे वह युवक भी लालक़िले आ गया। यहाँ पर आकर उसने छेड़खानी शुरू कर दी। नवज्योत रंधावा सिख हैं। उन्होंने अपने साथ छेड़खानी की शिकायत लालक़िले पर प्रदर्शन में शामिल कुछ सिख युवकों से कर दी। उन्होंने छेड़खानी करने वाले युवक को पहले समझाने की कोशिश की, लेकिन बात बढ़ गई और मारपीट शुरू हो गई। इतने में ही छेड़खानी करने वाले इतने में ही छेड़खानी करने वाले की पगड़ी खुल गई और पता चला कि वह सरदार नहीं है। जब पकड़कर पूछताछ की तो पता चला कि वो कोई अब्दुल मियाँ थे, जो सरदार बनकर अपनी मज़हबी खेती करने के चक्कर में थे। चैनल ने अपनी एंकर के साथ हुई छेड़खानी की ख़बर दबा दी, क्योंकि आरोपी मज़हब विशेष से था”.

Multiple Facebook users posted the claim with an image of the anchor including Facebook page ‘स्वयंसेवक‘ (Svayamsevak) that has over lakh followers. It was also shared by Facebook user Dilip Pandey. Both posts gained over 900 interactions each.

Fake story

The woman in the photograph is indeed Aaj Tak anchor Navjyot Randhawa. However, the story widespread in her name is false.

Alt News reached out to Randhawa who said, “The social media claim is baseless and false. Nothing mentioned in the viral text happened on January 26 with me.”

Thus a false story was cooked up that journalist Navjyot Randhawa was assaulted by a Muslim man during January 26 farmers’ rally. Recently, a copy-paste campaign was generated for discrediting the ongoing movement. An imposter account @NehakiNews tweeted a fake story where she identified as a journalist and claimed that she was attacked and harassed by protestors. This was copied and shared by multiple accounts as their own experience.

In the past, Alt News has debunked multiple instances of false claims suggesting that the Muslim community has infiltrated the 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.