Photo of SAD's Harsimrat Kaur Badal holding self-styled godman Ram Rahim's portrait is edited

By: Ankita Kulkarni
May 29 2024

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Photo of SAD's Harsimrat Kaur Badal holding self-styled godman Ram Rahim's portrait is edited

Screenshot of the edited viral picture in comparison with the original image showing the Golden Temple . (Source: Facebook/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict Fake

The original image shows Shiromani Akali Dal's Bathinda MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal holding a painting of the Golden Temple.

Claim ID b1f9cdec

What is the claim?

An image showing Harsimrat Kaur Badal, leader of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and a member of the Parliament (MP) from the North Indian state of Punjab's Bathinda, purportedly holding a framed portrait of self-styled godman Gurmeet Ram Rahim is being shared ahead of the polling for the general elections in the state on June 1. 

Ram Rahim, who ran a "religious organization" called Dera Sacha Sauda, is a controversial figure who has been in jail since he was convicted in a sexual assault case in 2017. He was recently acquitted in a 2002 murder case.

The now-viral image shows Badal standing with some people holding the framed portrait. The text on the image in Punjabi reads, "Dera lovers honored Harsimrat Badal with a picture of Dera chief Satguru Ram Rahim ji and assured votes to Akali Dal.” Archives of such posts here, here, and here.

Screenshot of viral posts being shared on social media.
(Source: Instagram/Facebook/Modified by Logically Facts)

However, the image is edited. The original image shows people gifting a picture of the Golden Temple, a holy site for the Sikh community, to her. 

What did we find? 

A reverse image search on the viral picture led us to a Facebook post (archived here) shared by Badal on April 18, 2024. One of the pictures shared in the post matches with the viral image, except the photo frame shows a different image. The original image showed her holding a picture of the Golden Temple located in Punjab’s Amritsar. The caption states that she received the photo frame while she was campaigning in Punjab's Mansa town.   

A closer look at the viral image reveals that the photo of Gurmeet Ram Rahim has been added onto the painting, as the original picture can still be seen in the background. 

The background seen behind the image of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh is that of the original Golden Temple painting. (Source: Facebook/Screenshot) 

After this viral image surfaced, Shiromani Akali Dal Spokesperson Arshdeep Singh Kler also clarified that the image is fake. Kler's clarification video was published by the Punjabi media outlet Rozana Times on Facebook (archived here). Further, Hindi-language newspaper Jagbani reported that the Shiromani Akali Dal filed a complaint with the Chief Election Officer (CEO) over the viral claim and demanded a thorough investigation into the matter. 

The verdict

An edited image has been shared with a false claim that Harsimrat Kaur Badal was holding a portrait of convicted self-styled godman Gurmeet Ram Rahim. The original image shows her holding a picture of the Golden Temple.

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