A picture of a man holding a placard has recently been making rounds on social media. It reads, “Release all mainstream and pro-freedom Kashmiri leadership. Dal Khalsa Sad (Amritsar)”. Users are claiming that this man is part of the farmers’ protest movement. BJP Delhi media head and spokesperson Naveen Kumar Jindal tweeted this photo and wrote that “pro-terrorist” Hurriyat leaders were jailed and here was a young man who wanted them to be released. His tweet had been liked 1,100 times and garnered more than 300 retweets at the time of writing. (Archive link)
Twitter user @KaafirGyan also shared the image and accompanying claim in a tweet. (Archive link)
शरजील इमाम जैसे देशद्रोहियों की रिहाई की माँग करने वाले किसान कभी नही हो सकते है,
— Kaafir V3.0 (@KaafirGyan) January 5, 2021
The bottom of the poster reads “Dal Khalsa Sad (Amritsar)”. Alt News performed a keyword search using these terms and came across a story by The Tribune dated December 5, 2019. It states that the Dal Khalsa and Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) were going to protest at Lal Chowk in Srinagar on the occasion of Human Rights Day on December 10, 2019.
Based on this information, we investigated further and found an article by Khalsa Force from December 12, 2019. It reports that Dal Khalsa and Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) activists were stopped at the Pathankot border in Punjab on the Kathua District Magistrate’s orders. The man in the viral photo can be seen at several points in the video report embedded in the article.
In the opening scenes of a BBC video report from December 9, 2019, this individual can be seen shouting slogans and holding a poster similar to the one in the image in question.
The Quint also published a fact-check report about this picture on January 6, 2021. The report quoted HS Dhami, former president of Dal Khalsa, as saying, “This photo is not related to the recent farmers’ protests.” He also identified the man holding the poster as Angad Singh. Angad tweeted a video of this incident on December 10, 2019. There are some pictures of the Kathua border on his Facebook profile as well.
The farmers’ protests began in September 2020 after the introduction of new agricultural ordinances, while this picture is related to an incident from December 2019.
Therefore, the Dal Khalsa and Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) held a protest demanding the release of Kashmiri leaders in December 2019. A picture from this demonstration was recently circulated on social media with users falsely linking it to the ongoing farmers’ protests. In the past, several old and unrelated photos and videos have been linked to protesting farmers.