Farmers have been protesting against the union government’s three new agricultural laws. Thousands of protesters from Punjab and Haryana were finally allowed to enter Delhi on Friday after heavy police security attempted to stop them using force.
Social media is rife with supporters of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) promoting misinformation around the protests to discredit the farmers. Many have posted a picture of a man wearing a green turban and claimed that a Muslim man disguised as a Sikh took part in the agitation.
घंटे भर में किसान बनने का चमत्कार, देखिए !! pic.twitter.com/wzcZKkuH7n
— Shalabh Mani Tripathi (@shalabhmani) November 28, 2020
Kunwar Ajay Pratap Singh, a Twitter user who is followed by Prime minister Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah, shared the picture and questioned, “He is a farmer?” He also attached a screenshot of the man’s Facebook profile which shows that his name is Nazeer Mohd. (Archive link)
यही किसान है?? pic.twitter.com/BI9gWFSPUT
— कुंवर अजयप्रताप सिंह🇮🇳 (@iSengarAjayy) November 27, 2020
From the Twitter handle @AndColorPokeT, it received over 19.000 likes.
इच्छाधारी किसान नजीर मोहम्मद pic.twitter.com/cALzubfjo1
— 🦁 कुख्यात किसान नेता (@AndColorPockeT) November 28, 2020
Another Twitter user Abhimanyu Tyagi shared these images. According to his Twitter bio, Tyagi is State Secretary BJP Delhi Youth Morcha. “Nazeer Mohammad turn into Navdeep Mohanpuria,” he wrote. (Archive link)
This is how sponsored protests work!! Nazeer Mohammad turn into Navdeep Mohanpuria pic.twitter.com/oTvfGRtQO4
— Abhimanyu Tyagi (@Abhiemanyu) November 27, 2020
Facebook user Manoj dave (archive link) and the page India272+ also shared the set of images (archive link). Several others on the social media platform have promoted a similar claim (1,2,3,4,5,6).
Twitter user @WordsSlay claimed that Nazeer Mohd is a Congress worker who has dressed as a Sikh to participate in the protests. Another Twitter user @TheAngryLord asserted that the protests are “fake”.
Image predates farmer protests
The photograph being circulated was posted by Nazeer Mohd on his Facebook profile on April 8, 2020.
The central government promulgated three Ordinances in June claiming to usher in agricultural reforms. The picture was shot two months before these were introduced and approved by the President. The Centre introduced three Bills in the monsoon session of the Parliament to replace the Ordinances. This was in September when the Bills soon became law. Farmer groups have since been protesting.
The picture, therefore, cannot represent a Muslim man disguising as a Sikh to take part in farmer protests. Nazeer Mohd locked his Facebook profile after his pictures began circulating online with false, provocative claims.
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