In the backdrop of the violence that ensued at the tractor rally held against centre’s farm bills on Republic Day, Acharya Vikramaditya (@AchVikrmaditya) tweeted a video of Sikh men at a pro-Khalistan rally and wrote, “If anyone still feels what’s happening is Delhi is a movement by farmers, watch this video and open your eyes”. (किसी को अभी भी दिल्ली में किसानों का ही आंदोलन लगता है तो वीडियो देखें और आंखों पर से धोखे का चश्मा हटा ले।)

The video has also been shared on Facebook with the same caption.

It was earlier tweeted by Pakistani-Canadian author Tarek Fatah with the claim, “Chanting #KhalistanZindabad and brandishing drawn swords, so-called ‘farmers’ praise #Bhindranwale as they head to Delhi to bring down the Indian flag on India’s #RepublicDay”.

Viral since December 2020

On December 7, 2020, YouTuber Ankur Arya tweeted the same video and sarcastically wrote, “These are India’s poor farmers, the government should accept their demands … Now some people will say this is not from Delhi, some will say these aren’t farmers and others will say Ankur Arya is spreading hate. So that the attention is diverted from the main issue.” This tweet gained over 6,000 views. (archived link)

This video was shared by a few Twitter users as well. Alt News had received several requests to authenticate the claim on our WhatsApp helpline number (+917600011160) and on our official Android application.

Video from 2016

Multiple reverse image search attempts on various search engines led us to the same clip uploaded on YouTube account Khalsa Gatka Group on May 25, 2016. This video has over 17 million views.

As per its title, the video was shot live at Beas, riverfront town in the Amritsar district of Punjab. The screenshot below compares the viral video with the video by Khalsa Gatka Group.

A Facebook user had uploaded another video of the protest taken from a different angle.

 

ਬਿਆਸ ਹੈਡ ਗੁਰਦੁਆਰਾ ਦੇ ਬਾਹਰ ਭਾਰੀ ਇੱਕਠ ਖਾਲਿਸਤਾਨ ਜਿੰਦਾਬਾਦ ਦੇ ਲੱਗੇ ਨਾਆਰੇ

Posted by ਜਤਿੰਦਰ ਸਿੰਘ ਸੋਢੀ on Wednesday, 25 May 2016

On May 25, 2016, Hindustan Times reported that Sikh hardliners assembled at the Beas bridge for ‘Anakh Rally’ (Rally for Pride) to protest against the Shiv Sena and the Punjab government. The rally was held in opposition to Lalkar rally organised by Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Suraksha Samiti (ABHSS) Punjab. Even as Lalkar rally was cancelled, Sikh groups assembled at Beas bridge. “Lalkar Rally smelt of a nexus between SAD-BJP government and the communal forces. We will not let anyone create tension in the state,” said Dhian Singh Mand, one of the leaders who addressed the protest.

The protest was also covered by local Punjabi media.

Thus, a four-year-old video of a protest held by Sikh groups against the Punjab government and the Shiv Sena was falsely linked to the farmers’ protest in Delhi.

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About the Author

Archit is a fact-checking journalist at Alt News since November 2019. Previously, he has worked as a producer at a TV news channel and as a reporter at a leading English-language daily. In addition to work experience in media, he has also worked as a fundraising and communication manager at an NGO.