An image of Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait with his supporters has been morphed to falsely claim that their faces were blackened with ink by the people in Rajasthan.
The edited image could be traced back to January 2021, at the Delhi border, when Tikait had refused to hold negotiations with the Committee constituted by the Supreme Court over the three controversial farm laws. No instance of an ink attack on the farmer leader was reported at the time.
Further, while Tikait’s convoy in Alwar on 2 April was pelted with stones and even black ink was thrown at it, the leader was reportedly left unhurt.
The image was shared by several users on Facebook, with the caption,
“भारत बंद करवाने चले थे
राजस्थान के पपलाज मैं जनता ने लात और थप्पड़ों की बारिश के बाद मुंह पर कालिख पोती”
(Translation: “Went to shut down India; public in Rajasthan's Papalaj threw ink on face after raining slaps and kicks.”)
WHAT WE FOUND OUT
Tikait and the people standing next to him can be seen in the same outfits as the viral image. A comparison of the original image with the edited one can be seen below.
We also found a video of the farmer leader’s interview with ANI, which has been geotagged at the Delhi border.
There’s no ink on the faces of the men in the video. Further, we did not find any credible news reports of an ink attack on Tikait or his supporters.
WAS TIKAIT ATTACKED IN RAJASTHAN?
The BKU leader’s convoy was attacked in Alwar while he was on his way to address a gathering in Harsora village.
While blaming local BJP leaders for the attack, Tikait stated that they pelted stones damaging the car, threw ink and showed black flags to the farmers. He also alleged that they “tried to snatch the gun from security personnel".
According to a report by The Times of India, the police confirmed that no one was injured in the attack and Tikait’s car was “far ahead” of the scuffle.
The New Indian Express (TNIE) also reported that the violent group broke the rear windshield of a car and even threw black ink, but Tikait was not present in the car.
Among the 16 arrested in the incident so far, Kuldeep Yadav, a student leader associated with BJP’s student wing, ABVP, reportedly spent around Rs 50,000 to recruit youngsters for the attack on the BKU leader.
While the BJP has denied any link to Yadav, additional SP of Alwar Gurusharan Rao told TNIE that the student leader had “hoped to create a special identity for himself” by organising the attack and "create a political space for himself".