A photograph of a man in riot gear has been shared online with messages alluding that he posed as a policeman during protests against the farm laws.
Farmer Protest: ਜੀਨਾਂ ਪੈਂਟਾਂ ਵਾਲੀ ਪੁਲਿਸ ਨਵੀ ਵਰਦੀ ਇਹ ਕਿਹੜੀ ਸਟੇਟ ਦੀ ਪੁਲਿਸ ਆ ? ਸੇਅਰ ਕਰ ਵਰਦੀ ਪ੍ਰਮੋਟ ਕਰੋ
The Punjabi caption shared with the image reads, “Farmer Protest: ਜੀਨਾਂ ਪੈਂਟਾਂ ਵਾਲੀ ਪੁਲਿਸ ਨਵੀ ਵਰਦੀ ਇਹ ਕਿਹੜੀ ਸਟੇਟ ਦੀ ਪੁਲਿਸ ਆ ? ਸੇਅਰ ਕਰ ਵਰਦੀ ਪ੍ਰਮੋਟ ਕਰੋ.” (Farmer Protest: Jeans and pants are new uniforms of which state police? Share and promote.)
The image was also shared from the verified page of Punjabi artist Chamkaur Khattra where it drew over 1,000 shares.
ਜੀਨਾਂ ਪੈਂਟਾਂ ਵਾਲੀ ਪੁਲਿਸ ਨਵੀ ਵਰਦੀ ਇਹ ਕਿਹੜੀ ਸਟੇਟ ਦੀ ਪੁਲਿਸ ਆ ? ਜਾਣਕਾਰੀ ਦਿਓ ।। ਸੇਅਰ ਕਰ ਵਰਦੀ ਪ੍ਰਮੋਟ ਕਰੋ
It has also been shared on Twitter.
ਜੀਨਾਂ ਪੈਂਟਾਂ ਵਾਲੀ ਪੁਲਿਸ ਨਵੀ ਵਰਦੀ ਇਹ ਕਿਹੜੀ ਸਟੇਟ ਦੀ ਪੁਲਿਸ ਆ ? ਜਾਣਕਾਰੀ ਦਿਓ ।। pic.twitter.com/0D9j9FXnNp
— Joban Randhawa (@iJobanRandhawa) January 31, 2021
Also viral during 2019 anti-CAA protests
A screenshot of a Facebook profile of one ‘Bharat Sharma’ juxtaposed with the photo of the man sporting a red t-shirt and riot gear was also shared two years ago during protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).. “सरकार बहादुर जवाब दे कि अब इसकी ड्यूटी किसने लगा दी? (Courageous government should answer that now, who has appointed him?),” quipped national spokesperson for All India Congress Committee (AICC) Udit Raj on December 17, 2019. The screenshot of the Facebook profile of Sharma identified him as an RSS volunteer and a state executive committee member of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidhyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the youth wing of the RSS. It was being claimed that the man in riot gear was Sharma who joined the Delhi police to quell anti-CAA protests.
On December 17, Aam Aadmi Party supporter Kapil tweeted the image and said, “@DelhiPolice can you explain what is happening here?? Have you outsourced law and order to RSS in Delhi??”. The tweet garnered more than 5,300 retweets before it was deleted. Swarajya India president Yogendra Yadav quote-tweeted Kapil’s tweet and reiterated the demand for an answer to the latter’s question.
Nationalist Congress Party MLA Jitendra Ahwad posted the same image and claimed, “Look at this photo and u will come to know who r behind the violence”.
— Dr.Jitendra Awhad (@Awhadspeaks) December 16, 2019
NOT BHARAT SHARMA
Alt News had published a fact-check on the photograph in 2019. We had found that several media outlets reported Delhi police’s clarification that the man in the red t-shirt is police personnel. In a statement given to The Print, DCP (Central) M S Randhawa clarified, “He is not Bharat Sharma. This is another lie that is being spread on social media to tarnish the image of Delhi police. He is, in fact, a constable with the AATS in South district who was also deployed on the law and order duty in the area”.
Moreover, The Quint reported that the man’s name is Arvind Kumar and he is with the Anti Auto Theft Squad (ATTS) South Delhi police. Alt News spoke to DCP South-East Delhi Chinmoy Biswal and confirmed media reports which identified the man as Arvind Kumar.
We accessed a recent photograph of constable Arvind Kumar. A juxtaposition of the photograph and the zoomed-in viral image shows that he is the same person. (Notice the shape of the nose and the style of the beard.)
BHARAT SHARMA IS THE MAN KICKING A PERSON IN ANOTHER VIDEO
Delhi NSUI president Akshay Lakra had tweeted a video of a man kicking a person and claimed the former is Bharat Sharma, a volunteer with RSS and ABVP’s state executive committee member. Lakra also posted Sharma’s photograph and a screenshot of his Facebook profile. This was in December 2019.
— Akshay Lakra (@akshaylakra17) December 16, 2019
After Sharma’s profile screenshot began circulating on social media along with constable Arvind Kumar’s photo, Sharma deactivated his profile and later reinstated it with considerable changes to his public bio. Responding to Lakra’s tweet about him kicking a person, Sharma said, “Yes. It’s me. I did it because innocent students were being attacked. Because girls were being abused. Because students were not being allowed to give exam. You have conveniently ignored what happened before and after these 12 seconds.”
Yes. It’s me. I did it because innocent students were being attacked. Because girls were being abused. Because students were not being allowed to give Exam. You have conveniently ignored what happened before and after these 12 seconds.
— Bharat Sharma (@bhaaratsharmaa) December 17, 2019
Speaking with India Today, he clarified that he is not the man in riot gear. “Bharat Sharma categorically denied this and said that neither he is the man in the picture nor he has any idea about it. He also claimed that the face of the man, partially covered in helmet does not resemble his face,” stated the article published on December 18, 2019.
I have been subjected to severe mental harassment since yesterday. I will file a defamation suit against all those who have peddled this lie that I was involved in rioting disguising as a police personnel, thus defaming my organisation and me.@ABVPVoice
— Bharat Sharma (@bhaaratsharmaa) December 17, 2019
Sharma also reiterated his confession while speaking to the media outlet and said that the man kicking another person is him and also admitted that he is an active ABVP worker. In his defence, he added that the video viral on social media is clipped and doesn’t show what preceded the said incident. However, when asked to produce a longer version, Sharma couldn’t provide one before the aforementioned report was filed.
We have compared constable Arvind Kumar’s photograph with Bharat Sharma’s picture posted on Twitter. The comparison brings out the facial differences between the two men.
In conclusion, a photograph of a constable with the Delhi police is being circulated with the false claim that a common citizen impersonated a cop during violence in farmers’ protest. The same was earlier shared with the false claim that the constable is actually ABVP, RSS worker Bharat Sharma who joined the police at Jamia Nagar and charged at students during 2019 anti-CAA protests.