Did ABVP member ‘Bharat Sharma’ pose as Delhi cop during clashes in CAA protests? – A fact-check

A screenshot of a Facebook profile of one ‘Bharat Sharma’ juxtaposed with a photo of a man sporting a red t-shirt and riot gear is being widely shared on social media. “सरकार बहादुर जवाब दे कि अब इसकी ड्यूटी किसने लगा दी? (Courageous government should answer that now, who has appointed him? -translated)”, quipped national spokesperson for All India Congress Committee (AICC) Udit Raj on December 17, 2019. The screenshot of the Facebook profile of Sharma identifies 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 is being claimed that the man in riot gear is Sharma who joined the Delhi police to quell the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

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 has garnered more than 5,300 retweets before it was later 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 also posted the same image and claimed, “Look at this photo and u will come to know who r behind the violence”. 

FACT-CHECK

NOT BHARAT SHARMA

Several media outlets have 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 the media reports which identified the man as Arvind Kumar.

We have 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.)

MAN IN A STRIKING POSE AGAINST A GROUP OF YOUNG WOMEN IS A DIFFERENT COP

On December 17, 2019, former Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju tweeted screenshots of a man who is seen holding a baton in a striking position against a group of young women and a man lying on the ground. These screenshots were taken from a viral video where policemen are seen lathi-charging the man while the women try to save their friend.

One among the enraged cops is a man dressed in civil uniform albeit equipped with riot gear.

People on social media have confused the man raining blows with a baton as constable Arvind Kumar. According to a report by Hindustan Times, a senior police official refuted the rumours on social media and said that the man is also a constable with the South-East district police. “The constables weren’t in their uniform because they were attached with a team of detectives at the district’s Anti Auto Theft Squad, or AATS,” stated the report published on December 17, 2019.

“Police had carried out its duty to control a violent mob and maintain peace. Attempts are being made to present a false picture. A picture is making rounds on social media where police personnel is being projected as a member of a student organisation, It’s a lie.”, said Biswal while speaking with news agency ANI.

Below, we have compared a screengrab from the viral video with a recent photograph of constable Arvind Kumar. It is noteworthy that while the picture quality of the screengrab is poor, it is enough to highlight the apparent differences in their facial features and beard. The man on the left is a different AATS police officer.

BHARAT SHARMA IS THE MAN KICKING A PERSON IN ANOTHER VIDEO

Delhi NSUI president Akshay Lakra 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.

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.”

Speaking with India Today, he clarified that he is not the man in the 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.

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 defense, 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 as ABVP, RSS worker Bharat Sharma to propagate the false claim that the latter joined the police at Jamia Nagar and charged at students.

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