A collage of eight images of men censoring Hindi and English text from traffic signs is being widely shared on the internet. As per the social media claim, this was done by protestors of the farm bills. The viral text in Hindi states that protestors “don’t want development, they want destruction” and “they don’t want freedom but anarchy” along with #Fake_Kisan_Movement. “After destroying Reliance Jio towers, they don’t want Hindi. Are they farmers?” reads the viral message.
(Viral Hindi text: “#रिलायंस जियो के टॉवर तोड़ने के बाद अब अगला काम #हिंदी_नही_चलेगी क्या ये #किसान है ? ये समाधान नहीं #व्यवधान चाहते हैं ये शांति नहीं #संघर्ष चाहते है ये #विकास नहीं, विनाश चाहते हैं ये स्वतंत्रता नहीं, स्वछंदता चाहते हैं ये सड़क नहीं, स्पीड ब्रेकर चाहते हैं। #फर्जी_किसान_आन्दोलन”)
On January 9, BJP member Jawahar Yadav posted the images on Twitter.
Facebook user Krishna Kant Singh posted the images on Facebook pages ‘I SUPPORT NARENDRA MODI JI‘ and ‘Pushpendra kulshrestha Fan club‘. Similarly, Facebook page Ambedkar and Politics also shared the pictures.
रिलायंस जियो के टावर तोड़ने के बाद
हिंदी नहीं चलेगी
कौन कहता है ये किसान है???
Posted by Rahul Naagar on Saturday, 9 January 2021
Alt News performed a reverse image search on Google and found that the viral images are not recent. They are from 2017.
Image verification 1: The set of four images in the collage and the image on the bottom left were posted on a blog in October 2017. As per the blog, the images are from Punjab. Two images from this set were also posted on Punjabi Khurki.
Image verification 2: The image on the top right was published by Hindustan Times in October 2017. As per the article, the traffic signs were vandalised by Dal Khalsa, Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), Bharatiya Kisan Union (Krantikari), Malwa Youth Federation and other organisations after they alleged that the Punjabi language was “disrespected” by placing in at the bottom on traffic signboards.
Image verification 3: The third image was found in an article by Sikh Siyasat News about the same issue.
Video verification: Alt News performed a reverse image search using InVid, a video verification tool, and found that this video was published by Tamil language news outlet Sathiyam News last year in September.
As per the report, the video shows a man protesting against the imposition of Hindi.
Therefore, the images pertain to protests by Dal Khalsa, Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), Bharatiya Kisan Union (Krantikari), Malwa Youth Federation and other organisations in 2017 against the alleged “disrespect” shown to Punjabi by bringing it to the bottom on signboards. These have been linked to the ongoing farmers’ protest to not only suggest vandalism but the false claim that the protestors are removing Hindi from signboards.