Clip From US Shared to Falsely Claim Farmers Insulted Indian Flag
We found that the video was shot in California, US and it doesn’t show farmers protesting against the farm laws.
A video that has gone viral on social media claims that Indian farmers disrespected the Indian National flag and damaged it during the ongoing protests against the Centre’s new farms laws. This comes on the back of the violence that occurred on Republic Day after protesters entered the Red Fort.
However, we found that the video was shot in California, US and it doesn’t show people protesting against the farm laws in India.
One of the claims viral with the video read in Bengali, “কাল যারা বলেছিল জাতীয় পতাকাকে অপমান করা হয়নি তারা একবার ভিডিও টি দেখুন বাস্তবতা বুঝতে পারবেন...দালালি করা ছাড়ুন.”
(Translation: Yesterday, those who said that the national flag was not insulted will understand the reality once they watch this video. Stop mediation.)
The video was posted on 27 January, a day after the violence that unfolded during the tractor rally organised by various farmer unions as a mark of protest against the new farm laws. The same claim was shared by many on Facebook.
We also received multiple queries on our tipline number to verify the whereabouts of the video.
WHAT WE FOUND OUT
In the viral video, the TikTok profile name “amanvir_singh5” could be seen on the top-left corner. The ban on TikTok in India prevented us from accessing the source of the video directly.
In the larger interest of debunking misinformation spreading in the country, we made an exception to our policy and accessed the web application of TikTok using a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
We looked for the profile on the platform and found that a TikTok user was indeed present with the same ID.
While going through the profile, we found a video which was in a split-screen format where the right side of the frame contained the viral video.
Upon further investigation, we found the link to the source of the video on the right side of the frame. The video was posted by a TikTok user who goes by the username “gurcharnsinghkhalsa013”.
In the video, chants of “Khalistan Zindabad” and “Never forget 1984” were heard after which Amanvir Singh comes into the frame and talks about the Indian constitution before tearing a printout of the cover.
We then looked at both the videos and found posts that asked people to assemble at ‘7609 Wilbur Way, Sacramento, CA 95828’ on ‘25 January 2021 – Monday – 11 am’ to protest against India for the ‘1984 Sikh Genocide’.
The TikTok user “GurcharnSinghKhalsa013” also posted a clip containing Google Maps screenshots of a location marked as “South Sac Truck and Trailer Tire” in California, US.
We looked up the location on Google Maps and found multiple similarities when compared with the viral video, as can be seen below.
Further down in the Amanvir Singh’s profile, we found a video where he shared screenshots of an order placed with Amazon.com for Indian flags. In the screenshot of the Amazon order, it is written “Ship to Amanvir – Bakersfield, CA”.
Evidently, the viral video does not show farmers in India standing on the Indian flag and damaging it. The video was actually shot in California, US.
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