A set of images of a man in different attires has been shared on social media to discredit the farmers’ protest. It is being suggested that an imposter has posed as one of the protestors. The images are being shared with the Hindi caption, “Look at the imposter. Pic-1 Christian priest Pic-2 Preacher Pic-3 Farmer protestor.” (देख लीजिए बहुरूपिये को Pic-1 ईसाई पादरी Pic-2 प्रवचनकर्ता Pic-3 किसान अांदोलनकारी.)
देख लीजिए बहुरूपिये को
Pic-1 ईसाई पादरी
Pic-3 किसान अांदोलनकारी pic.twitter.com/BCWEnGSf98
— 𝑯𝒂𝒓𝒅𝒊𝒌 𝑩𝒉𝒂𝒗𝒔𝒂𝒓 (@Bittu_Tufani) February 9, 2021
The same images were also shared by Twitter user @Adv_AnkurSharma
रविवार को चर्च के पादरी
सोमवार को हिन्दू कथावाचक
जब पैसे मिले तो किसान आंदोलन@आन्दोलनजीवी😂😂😂 pic.twitter.com/DwgyRQBa4Z
— Advocate Ankur Sharma (@Adv_AnkurSharma) February 9, 2021
Old, unrelated images juxtaposed to promote false claim
When Alt News performed a reverse image search of the first image, we were taken to a YouTube channel called Arputhar Yesu Tv. The channel had uploaded a video in 2018 titled “Laborer’s day Christian Tamil Sermon Father Jegath Kasper Speech on Workers Day 30-04-2018”. Thus, the man has been identified as Father Jegath Gaspar Raj.
At 9:32 minutes, he can be spotted in the same position as the viral image.
Father Jegath Gaspar Raj is the founder of non-profit organisation Tamil Maiyam. In 2010, his office was searched by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) as part of its probe into the 2G spectrum scam. He claimed that Tamil Maiyam was “unfairly targetted”.
Alt News contacted Fr Gaspar who said that the video is a few years old. “Tamil Nadu has progressive religious harmony. I was invited to an event where I spoked about common features between different religions,” he said, adding that he promotes inter-religious harmony.
For the third image, we found an article by ANI published on April 28, 2018. According to the article, after two pastors were manhandled in Tamil Nadu’s Kanyakumari, Fr Gaspar of Tamil Maiya had blamed the RSS for atrocities against the Christian community. The file image of the article is the same as the one viral on social media.
The Times of India had also posted a video report on the incident. It said that Tamil Maiya held protests inside Arulmigu Mutharamman Temple in Tamil Nadu’s Kanyakumari. Along with agitating against the harassment of Christian pastors allegedly by the RSS, it also raised concerns over the Cauvery water issue.
Fr Gaspar told Alt News that he hasn’t been involved in any farmers’ protests. But also added that this doesn’t mean that he does not support the farmers’ cause.
Three old images of Father Jegath Gaspar Raj from varied events were juxtaposed together to give the false impression that he is an imposter who has now turned up at the farmers’ protest.