Old images of police barricades, iron spikes linked to ongoing farmers' protests in India

By: Chandan Borgohain
February 15 2024

Share Article: facebook logo twitter logo linkedin logo
Old images of police barricades, iron spikes linked to ongoing farmers' protests in India

Screenshot of a Facebook post sharing old photos from 2021 as recently installed barricades during the ongoing farmers’ protests in Delhi. (Source: Facebook/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict Misleading

Most of the photos used in the viral post predate the ongoing farmers’ protest. They are from the 2021 anti-farm law protests in Delhi.

Claim ID ce020302

Amid heightened security at several entry points to New Delhi, farmers from various unions in the northern Indian states of Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh continued their 'Delhi Chalo' march for the third day on Thursday, February 15. In the lead-up to a third round of discussions between the government and farmer leaders on Thursday evening, aimed at resolving the standoff, farmers obstructed railway tracks in Punjab.

What is the claim?

Against this backdrop, supporters of the protest and social media users are circulating images of police barricades, barbed wire, and iron spikes purportedly set up to stop the protesters. A Facebook post, which includes seven such images, claims these depict the government's measures to prevent the farmers from entering the national capital.

An approximate translation of the post from Assamese reads: "Both police and farmers are prepared. Thousands of farmers are advancing towards Delhi on tractors. Observe the government's actions to counter the farmers' movement, the very individuals who provide us with rice and bread. Iron spikes have been placed on the streets to block the farmers' tractors!" The post has been archived here.

Screenshot of the viral Facebook post. (Source: Facebook/ Modified by Logically Facts)

What did we find?

Two of the photos in the post are conclusively from the 2021 farmer protests in Delhi. Two others, present on the internet since 2021, are reportedly from the same demonstrations but can't be independently verified, and one of the images appears to have been digitally generated.

Photo showing construction workers embedding iron spikes on the road

A reverse image search reveals this photo has been online since February 2021, shared by users including psephologist and political activist Yogendra Yadav during the protests against farm laws (since repealed) in February 2021. While the photo's origin remains untraceable, it is believed to depict Delhi's Tikri border during the protests.

This assertion is supported by a Reddit post and a Boom news story from February 2021, which also featured the image with the description, “The police have also resorted to embedding nails on the road to restrict movement of protesting farmers at Tikri border.”

Screenshot of the Boom report from 2021 carrying the viral image. (Source: Boom)

Photo of security personnel by spike nails

This image, when searched, led to a February 1, 2021, report by Jagran, showing spikes at the Tikri border designed to prevent protesting farmers from entering Delhi. 

Screenshot of the Jagran report from 2021 carrying the viral image. (Source: Jagran)

A similar scene is evident in an NDTV video report from February 2, 2021, where we can see iron spikes erected on the road at the Tikri border to prevent farmers from entering Delhi.

A screenshot of the video report by NDTV from 2021 closely resembles the viral image. (Source: NDTV)

Photo of iron barricades and embedded nails

Dated back to the 2021 protests, this photo appeared in a Deccan Herald story report about the farmers' protest against the farm laws two years ago. The image, captured by Vijay Verma at the Ghazipur border on February 2, 2021, depicted measures to stop farmers from entering Delhi.

Screenshot of the Decan Herald photo story from March 2021 carrying the viral image. (Source: Decan Herald)

Moreover, the photo was also featured in a report by The Tribune on February 3, 2021, crediting PTI as the source. Based on these inputs, we managed to locate the photo in the archives of PTI. The caption shared with this photo reads, "Iron spikes placed by Delhi Police at Ghazipur border to keep farmers from entering the national capital during their ongoing protest against the new farm laws, in New Delhi, Tuesday, February 2, 2021."

Photo of security personnel and barricades 

A reverse image search revealed that it is also an old photo and captures the farmers' protest in Delhi in 2021. The photo is featured in a report published by The Tribune on February 7, 2021. According to the caption, the image is credited to PTI and shows barricades at the Delhi-UP Ghazipur border during farmers' protest against the farm laws in 2021.

Screenshot of the The Tribune report from 2021 carrying the viral image. (Source: The Tribune)

Taking a cue from this, we traced the photo to the PTI archives. The image was captured by Manvender Vashist on February 6, 2021, during the farmers' protest. 

The ‘COWARD’ photo

The photo showing nails that form the word ‘COWARD’ on the road was likely digitally created and exhibited multiple discrepancies, like inconsistent shadows and unnatural color grading, besides the fact that the pixel density of the nails does not match the grey background. Moreover, all the nails are identical in the photo (with a dimple visible near the top of the nail), which cannot be the case in a real photo. 

Logically Facts shared the image with Dikshant Kumar, a freelance graphic designer based in Delhi, who concurred that the above discrepancies point towards the possibility that the image in question was created using Photoshop or a similar photo editing software. 

The image was initially posted by the X account of the Congress party on February 12, 2024, after which it was picked up by Congress leaders like Srinivas BV on X and also posted on the Instagram account of the Haryana Youth Congress.

Screenshot of the image shared on the official X account of the Congress Party. (Source: X) 

A reverse image search on the remaining photos confirmed they are from the ongoing farmers' protest in Delhi.

The verdict

The post includes several outdated images of barriers and iron spikes used during the 2021 protests against farm laws, misleadingly presented as current. Therefore, we have marked this claim misleading.

Read this fact-check in:

English , অসমীয়া

Would you like to submit a claim to fact-check or contact our editorial team?

Global Fact-Checks Completed

We rely on information to make meaningful decisions that affect our lives, but the nature of the internet means that misinformation reaches more people faster than ever before