Old Image of Farmer’s Death Revived Amid Recent Protests
We found that the person died protesting over the closure of Shri Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant in Bathinda.
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The image of a man, in a blue turban, lying lifeless on a road is being shared with a claim that the person was a farmer who died while protesting against the three farm laws introduced by the Centre.
However, we found that while the man was indeed a farmer, his death was not part of the ongoing protests along Delhi’s borders. He was a senior leader of the Bharti Kisan Union (Ugrahan), and he died protesting over the closure of Shri Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant in Bathinda, Punjab in July 2020.
One of the captions that was shared with the video when translated from Punjabi read, “Tribute to Baba Ji who was martyred in Delhi protests today.” The image was posted on 8 January 2021 on a page called Ekta Kranti.
Similar posts were shared by many social media users on Facebook and Twitter, who tried to link the photo of the dead farmer with the ongoing farmers’ protest.
WHAT WE FOUND OUT
When we conducted a reverse image search of the viral photo, we found several social media posts from July 2020 that had the same image. One such post was made by a politician from Punjab called, Sarvjit Kaur Manuke, on her Facebook page.
Her post contained six images and the caption read, “A senior leader of the Farmer Union died protesting over the closure of Shri Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant, Bathinda.”
We conducted a keyword search taking the details from the Facebook post and found a news report in The Indian Express from 2 July 2020 that identified the person as Joginder Singh, from Cheema village of Sangrur district.
The report stated that the 55-year-old farmer was found dead shortly after he sat on a dharna outside the shut Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant at Bathinda.
“He was carrying a flag of Bharti Kisan Union (Ugrahan) and a placard, on which it was mentioned that he is sacrificing his life to protest against the decision of selling the land of the thermal plant,” the report said.
We found another report in Punjab Kesari that was titled, “We found that the person died protesting over the closure of Shri Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant in Bathinda.”
The report, that was published on 1 July 2020, carried one of the images shared by Manuke in her Facebook post about the farmer’s death. The report said that the exact cause of death was yet to be determined.
Evidently, an image from July 2020 was shared with a false claim that it showed the death of a farmer in the ongoing farmers’ protest against the three farm laws.
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