Unrelated video of clashes with police falsely linked to farmers' protest in India

By: Ankita Kulkarni
February 27 2024

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Unrelated video of clashes with police falsely linked to farmers' protest in India

Screenshot shows viral posts circulating on social media. (Source: X/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict False

The clip shows protestors clashing with police over the removal of Bhindranwale’s portrait from a gurdwara complex in Punjab's Tarn Taran district.

Claim ID cb4eb57b

What is the claim?

Amid the ongoing farmer's protest in India, a video shared on social media claims to show clashes between the protestors and the police. The video shows a large group of people surrounding police officials and a car. Some of the protestors, many of them from the Sikh community, are also wielding swords in the video. One man can also be seen using a sword against a police official (many of whom are also visibly from the Sikh community). Sharing this video, one such post (archived here) on X (formerly Twitter) claimed, "So called farmer attacking police with swords allowed on them for religious purposes (sic)." This post has garnered 88,000 views on the platform and has been shared by other users with similar claims. Archived versions of similar posts can be viewed here, here, and here.

Viral social media posts. (Source: X/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)

However, the video is unrelated to the current farmers' protest. It shows clashes that broke out near a gurudwara (a Sikh religious place) in the Tarn Taran district of Punjab.

How did we verify this?

Multiple comments on the viral post sharing the video pointed out that the clip is "old and unrelated to farmers' protest," with a user saying it was shot at the "gurudwara at Parkash purab baba deep Singh in pahuvind Punjab."

A Google search led us to a report published by the Hindustan Times on January 29 headlined "Clash at Tarn Taran gurdwara over removal of Bhindranwale's poster." The report stated that clashes broke out at the gurdwara located in Pahuwind village in Punjab's Tarn Taran district, which is the birthplace of Sikh martyr Dhan Dhan Baba Deep Singh. 

The report states that the incident took place when a group of Sikh men visited the gurdwara to mark the birth anniversary of Dhan Dhan Baba Deep Singh and placed a portrait of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale near the spot where devotees leave their footwear. (Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale was a Sikh militant, termed a separatist for demanding a separate Sikh state as part of the 'Khalistan movement.' Bhindranwale was killed in Operation Bluestar in 1984. The operation was launched by the Indian Army to remove Bhindranwale and his supporters from the Golden Temple in Amritsar. Many people consider him a martyr.)

After Bhindranwale's photo was placed in the gurdwara complex, the president of the gurdwara management committee, Col. Harsimran Singh (retd), objected and requested volunteers to remove the portrait from the premises, failing which he pulled it down himself, HT reported.

A video of this incident in question went viral, after which leaders of Sikh organizations gathered at the gurudwara, demanding a police case to be lodged against Singh for allegedly hurting the sentiments of the Sikh community. The daily added that police were escorting Singh to his car amid these protests when the members of the Sikh community started attacking the vehicle and the police officials. 

We also came across a news report on YouTube by Rozana Spokesman, a regional Punjab-based media channel, capturing Preet Inder Singh, Bhikhiwind's deputy superintendent of police, telling the press that the incident occurred on January 28. The video report, which showed scenes similar to the viral clip, although captured from a different angle, corroborated the details from the Hindustan Times news story. The report added that the police SHO (Station House Officer) seen in the now-viral video, as well as a few protesters, were injured during the incident.

The incident was also covered by News 18 Punjab and PTC News, who uploaded video reports on YouTube on January 29. The description of the videos provided similar details as reported by Hindustan Times. Upon comparing the videos with the viral clip, we could spot several similarities— such as the vehicle, the positions of police personnel around the car, and the same person attacking police with a sword.

Comparison between the viral clip and News 18 Punjab report. (Source: X/YouTube/Screenshot)

Media reporting indicates that the viral video is from Punjab's Tarn Taran district and is unrelated to the farmers' protest.

The ongoing farmers' protest

It is to be noted that clashes have also been reported at the Shambhu border connecting Haryana and Delhi, where a large number of troops of police and paramilitary personnel have been deployed, with multiple layers of barricades, wires, and nails, to stop farmers from entering Delhi. Hindustan Times reported that Haryana police on February 21 fired tear gas to disperse the protesting farmers after they announced to break the barricades and move towards Delhi. 

However, the video in question predates the current farmers' protest that began in mid-February. 

The verdict

A video of clashes between the Sikh community members and the police in the Tarn Taran district of Punjab is falsely being shared as farmers attacking officials of law enforcement agencies amid the ongoing protests. Therefore, we have marked the claim as false. 

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