Old video of protest in Canada over Nijjar’s death falsely linked to farmers' protest

By: Annet Preethi Furtado
February 20 2024

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Old video of protest in Canada over Nijjar’s death falsely linked to farmers' protest

Screenshots of the claim that a video shows farmers disrespecting the flag during the 2024 farmers' protest (Source: X/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict False

An old video from 2023, showing Khalistan supporters insulting the Indian national flag, has been shared as footage from the 2024 farmers' protest.

Claim ID e1c6cdc6

The 2024 farmers' protest began on February 13 as farmers from various states began their 'march to Delhi', demanding established minimum support prices (MSP) for their crops.

What's the claim?

During the protests, an 11-second video circulated on the X platform, depicting individuals in turbans kicking a football wrapped in the Indian national flag. Despite the absence of audio, the video shows several men with megaphones, while two others wave yellow flags.

The video was shared with Hindi captions, one translating to, "This is an insult to our 'Tricolor,' our 'Mother India'...how can a farmer do this...???? Caution is needed...this insult to the country cannot be tolerated. #farmerprotests2024 #FarmerProtestInDelhi." Another caption questions, "Is he a farmer?" One such X post received 282,800 views. Archived versions of these posts can be accessed here and here

Screenshots of viral X posts. (Source: X/ Screenshot/ Modified by Logically Facts)

However, the video actually depicts Khalistan supporters insulting the Indian flag in 2023 and is unrelated to the ongoing farmer's protest in 2024.

What are the facts?

A reverse image search of the video's keyframes led to a Deccan Herald report from September 2023, titled "Watch: Pro-Khalistanis wrap Indian flag around ball, kick it day after stomping on Modi's cutouts in Toronto." This report, containing a screenshot similar to the viral video, discussed protests in Canada linked to the alleged assassination of Khalistani separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in June 2023.

In the image, a man wearing a black turban, a white and black checked t-shirt, and beige-colored pants, can be seen kicking a football covered in the Tricolor.

Comparison between a screenshot extracted from the viral video and the image featured in the Deccan Herald report. (Source: X/Screenshot/Deccan Herald)

The report also carried the X post, which shared a longer version of the viral video from which the screenshot had been taken. The video was shared on September 26, 2023, by an account called Norbert Elikes, and the caption stated that the incident had taken place in Canada. 

(Source: X)

Furthermore, we found that the same video had been shared on X on July 25, 2023, with the section from around the 8-second mark to approximately the 19-second mark matching precisely with the viral footage. The uploader also states in one of the replies that the video was captured in Canada.

(Source: X)

Visual cues

In both the viral video and its extended version, several men can be observed holding yellow flags bearing the word "Khalistan," and a poster on a vehicle emblazoned with the same word, "Khalistan."

Screenshot of the viral video and its extended version depicting yellow flags and a poster bearing the word "Khalistan” (Source: X/ Screenshot/ Modified by Logically Facts)

Additionally, in the footage, the men are positioned in front of a vehicle bearing a banner. 

While some words on the banner are partially obscured by the men standing in front of it, it can be made out that the sentence reads: "FACES OF SHAHEED NIJJAR’S KILLERS IN CANADA.” The poster also carries the emblem of India featuring "High Commission of India." Furthermore, the banner displays images of two men and one woman.

Screenshot of the extended version of the viral video displaying the phrases "FACES OF" and "KILLERS IN CANADA," with the "High Commission of India" on the left. (Source: X/ Screenshot/ Modified by Logically Facts)

The top of the banner also carries the words ‘referendum’, and the name ‘Hardeep Singh Nijjar’ can also be made out.

Screenshot of the extended version of the viral video displaying the phrases "referendum’ and the name ‘Hardeep Singh Nijjar.’ (Source: X/ Screenshot/ Modified by Logically Facts)

Similar banners to those seen in the viral video were reportedly seen during the July 2023 pro-Khalistan protests. The banners displayed messages such as "SHAHEED JATHEDAR HARDEEP SINGH NIJJAR REFERENDUM" and "WAR ZONE," along with phrases like "FACES OF SHAHEED NIJJAR'S KILLERS IN CANADA." The poster below, found in a report by Hindustan Times about the July 2023 protests, matches exactly with the poster seen in the viral video.

Screenshot of the YouTube video posted by Hindustan Times, featuring a poster targeting Indian diplomats in Canada's Greater Toronto Area. (Source: YouTube/Hindustan Times)

In July 2023, Hindustan Times reported that "Posters inciting violence against Indian diplomats again put up in Canada." These posters, reportedly found outside the Bharat Mata Mandir, a temple in Canada’s Brampton, featured photographs of India’s high commissioner to Canada, Sanjay Kumar Verma, consul general of India in Toronto, Apoorva Srivastava, and consul general of India in Vancouver, Manish. On the posters, the officials were accused of being involved in Nijjar’s killing.

From the above information, it can be surmised that the incident captured on video took place sometime in July 2023 in Canada, and was a reaction to the killing of Nijjar.

Pro-Khalistan protests 

In July 2023, Khalistan supporters organized protests outside Indian consulates in Canada, the U.K., and the U.S., in response to Nijjar's alleged assassination. These rallies prominently featured yellow Khalistan flags and banners.

The verdict

An old video depicting Khalistan supporters insulting the Indian flag in Canada has been inaccurately circulated as footage of farmers disrespecting the flag during the 2024 farmers' protest. Therefore, we have marked the claim as false.

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