Video of protest against Punjab YouTuber’s arrest shared as farmers marching to Delhi

By: Azra Ali
February 15 2024

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Video of protest against Punjab YouTuber’s arrest shared as farmers marching to Delhi

Screenshots of the viral video with false claim.(Source: X/ Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict False

The video shows people marching to the Punjab Chief Minister's residence in Sangrur after the arrest of social media influencer Bhana Sidhu.

Claim ID 3ff17bf9

What is the claim?

A video depicting individuals on tractors breaking through police barricades and engaging with law enforcement officers is being widely circulated on social media. It is claimed to show farmers advancing toward Delhi. Farmers from states including Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh have declared their intention to march to New Delhi, almost two years following their initial prolonged protest. A report by the Times of India indicates that the march is intended to coerce the government into meeting the farmers' demands, which include a legal assurance for the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for their crops.

Discontent has been mounting among farmers, represented by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (United Farmers' Front - Non-Political) and the Kisan Mazdoor Morcha, following the breakdown of negotiations with the government. In response, extensive security measures have been implemented at the borders of Delhi, including the erection of barricades and wire barriers to thwart the farmers' march.

In this context, a user on X (formerly known as Twitter) shared the video with a caption that translates to, "These barricades cannot halt the farmers' advance! Breaking through, they continue their journey toward Delhi." This post has attracted over 321,000 views on X. Archived versions of similar posts can be accessed here, here, and here.

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

However, the viral video shows people marching towards Sangrur to demand the release of Punjabi YouTuber Bhana Sidhu. The location in the video is Badbar toll plaza in Punjab on National Highway 7.

How did we verify this?

We conducted a reverse image search on keyframes from the viral video. This led us to a video uploaded on Gemm TV's YouTube channel, a regional digital news outlet based in Jalandhar, Punjab, which carried the same footage, dated February 3, 2024. The video's description states, Latest visuals from today's protest put forth by the supporters of Bhana Sidhu and Lakha Sidhana as tractors cross the Punjab police barriers near Sangrur.” We also found the video on Bhana Sidhu’s official Facebook page posted on February 3, 2024, with the caption “Punjab.”

A Times of India report stated that many protestors, including youngsters and farmers, blocked the national highway near Sangrur to reach Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann’s residence. The protest escalated after Sidhu’s supporters broke the barricades and clashed with the police. The sit-in was finally resolved after assurance by the government that Sidhu would be released by February 10. Sidhu was eventually released on February 12, according to reports.

For additional verification, we contacted Gemm TV, which directed us to the freelance journalist who captured the footage. Preferring to remain anonymous, the journalist confirmed that the video depicted Punjab police barricades, thereby excluding the possibility of it being filmed at the Delhi-NCR borders. The actual location was identified as the Badbar toll plaza on National Highway 7, near Barnala, Punjab. The footage shows Bhana Sidhu's supporters on tractors heading to Sangrur on February 3, 2024, causing a significant traffic disruption at the toll plaza and leading to confrontations with the Punjab police, he added. 

It is worth noting that during the 2020-2021 farmers' protests against the three now-repealed agricultural laws, Sidhu had expressed support for the farmer unions. Members of these unions participated in the recent protests demanding his release. A flag of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Indian Farmers' Union) is visible in the video at the 0.40-second mark. However, this video has been erroneously associated with the farmers' march to New Delhi. The actual intent of the farmers in the video was to march to the Punjab Chief Minister's residence in Sangrur on February 3, 2024, to seek Bhana Sidhu's release.

The verdict 

The viral video, showing individuals clashing with police and navigating through barricades on tractors, captures a protest march to Sangrur in Punjab on February 3, 2024, demanding the release of YouTuber and social media influencer Bhana Sidhu. It does not depict farmers marching toward Delhi. Therefore, we have marked the viral claim as false.

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