A Pakistani news channel Abb Takk ran a show on March 5, 2019, titled – “21 Sikh Regiment Refused To Fight For India” – to claim that Sikh soldiers have declined to take up arms against Pakistan in support of the Indian army.
Abb Takk accredited a Twitter handle @GurmeetKaur2020 for the ‘breaking news.’ Attached below is the tweet flashed by the channel, which was also the first post about the alleged refusal by 21 Sikh regiments. The location of the person handling @GurmeetKaur2020 is marked as ‘Khalistan’ and the bio reads, ” Free Khalistan is my Dream. Standing against Indian Oppression.”
— Gurmeet Kaur (@GurmeetKaur2020) March 5, 2019
Claim viral in Pak social media
A few Facebook users have also shared the clip.
21 Sikh Regiment Refused to Fight agnst Pakistan.
Commander Of Regiment Says that Pakistan is the Home of Guru Nanak How can we fire a bullet on that Land.
Indian journalist Rohini Singh was among those who retweeted the alleged Republic TV broadcast.
A simple Google reverse image search is enough to reveal that the viral Republic TV clip is photoshopped. Alt News was redirected by Google to a May 2017 article by Newslaundry that had used the original clip from the channel’s broadcast two years ago.
If one compares the viral clip with the one uploaded by Newslaundry, it is clear that apart from the text in the middle and ‘breaking news’ added above it, everything else is identical.
The Republic TV broadcast was about its viewership. The channel had also put out a tweet of the ‘61% viewership’ it enjoyed from May 13 to 19, 2017 between 9 to 11 pm.
BARC India 1 mn+ (May 13-17) between 9 pm – 11 pm
Republic TV 61%
Times Now 24.7%
CNN News18 5.8%
India Today 4.1%
— Republic (@republic) May 25, 2017
Since the Pulwama terror attack and the India-Pakistan tensions that followed, Pakistani media and social media have been circulating misinformation to undermine India’s retaliation. Similarly, the Indian media and social media ecosystems have returned the favour by sharing fake news targetting their neighbour from across the border.
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