Three central farm legislation were passed by the government in September. Since then there have been protests from farmers across the nation who fear that the legislation will not ensure Minimum Support Price (MSP) on agricultural produce. Thousands of farmers from Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh have been marching toward the national capital November 28 onward.

In the backdrop of this, several Twitter and Facebook users have juxtaposed two images of an elderly woman. One of them is 82-year-old Bilkis Bano popularly known as ‘Shaheen Bagh Dadi’. As per the claim, both women are the same and Bano was present at the recent farmers’ protests. Some social media posts added that Bano is available on hire on daily basis for such protests. Thus, questioning the integrity of both movements.

Twitter user Gaurav Pradhan tweeted, “1. Dadi at Shaheen Bagh 2. Dadi as Farmer? Dadi available for hire on per day basis. Food, cloth, award and pocket money extra CONTACT : @RahulGandhi, @priyankagandhi or at @incindia office, 24, Akbar Road, New Delhi.” His tweet was retweeted over 1000 times. (archived link)

Bollywood actor Kangana Ranaut also promoted the tweet and wrote, “Ha ha ha she is the same dadi who featured in Time magazine for being the most powerful Indian…. And she is available in 100 rupees. Pakistani jurno’s have hijacked international PR for India in an embarrassing way. We need our own people to speak for us internationally.” Ranaut’s tweet was liked over 1,000 times before it was taken down. (archived link)

Alt News received several requests to authenticate this claim on our WhatsApp helpline number (+917600011160) and on our official Android application. One of the WhatsApp messages reads, “Shahin Bagh wali dadi aaj kisan bani hai.”

Attempt to malign farmer protests with false claim

A quick glance makes it clear that the two women aren’t identical. However several social media users believe otherwise. In order to authenticate both the images, we performed a reverse image search on both to find the context.

Image 1: Bilkis Bano

The image of Bano was published in The Economic Times, India Times and She The People in September. Earlier this year, TIME magazine listed Bano as one of the 100 most influential people in 2020 after she actively participated and led women’s protest against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act.

It is also noteworthy that Bilkis Bano was stopped from joining the farmers’ protest. Police detained her at Singhu (Delhi-Haryana border) on December 1.

Image 2: Elderly woman in a protest march

This image was posted by Facebook page Sant Baba Jarnail Singh Ji Khalsa Bhindranwale on October 13.

It was posted by several journalists from Chandigarh — Ruchika M. Khanna at The Tribune and Neel Kamal at The Times of India. As per The Tribune Chandigarh, a farmers’ protest took place on October 27. The image shows women wear a yellow scarf as seen in the viral image. The Tribune reported that protesters under the banner of the Bharatiya Kisan Union – Ugrahan, demanded compensation and a government job to the next of kin of deceased farmer Meghraj Nagri, who died during a protest against the Farm Acts near Benra village on October 9. Nagri’s death was also reported by The Times of India.

Alt News spoke with Manzoor Ahmed, son of Bilkis Bano. He said, “The woman in the yellow scarf is not my mother. The social media claim is false.” Prior to our report, Boomlive published a video where Bano refuted the claim that she is the elderly woman in the farmers’ protest march.

The elderly woman is Mahinder Kaur and she too clarified the misinformation.

An image of an elderly woman protesting against the recent farm legislation was shared with the baseless claim that Bilkis Bano was involved in ongoing farmers protest. In the past as well, Alt News has debunked a barrage of misinformation related to protests against CAA, NRC and farmers in order to discredit the movements.

Donate to Alt News!
Independent journalism that speaks truth to power and is free of corporate and political control is possible only when people contribute towards the same. Please consider donating in support of this endeavour to fight misinformation and disinformation.

To make an instant donation, click on the "Donate Now" button above. For information regarding donation via Bank Transfer/Cheque/DD, click here.

Tagged:
About the Author

Archit is a senior fact-checking journalist at Alt News. Previously, he has worked as a producer at WION and as a reporter at The Hindu. In addition to work experience in media, he has also worked as a fundraising and communication manager at S3IDF.