Video Editor: Abhishek Sharma
Several protesting farmers on Tuesday, 26 January entered the Red Fort in Delhi and waved flags from the ramparts of the fort, as clashes between farmers and the police erupted in several parts of the national capital amid the ‘Kisan Gantantra Parade’.
Soon after, several social media users claimed that the flags that were waved at the Red Fort are “Khalistani” ones. A few users, including senior journalists and politicians, went ahead and claimed that the national flag was ‘supplanted’. (You can read our report on that here.)
However, visual elements and reporters on the ground confirmed that the flags that were raised were not Khalistan flags. One was the Sikh religious flag Nishan sahib, and the other was a farmers’ flag.
Twitter user Ankit Jain, with over a lakh followers, tweeted that the tricolour was “replaced by Khalistan flag.”
Another verified Twitter account ‘Pakistan First’ also shared images of the Red Fort with the same claim with his 61.8k followers.
Film Critic and Trade Analyst Sumit Kadel quote-tweeted visuals shared by ANI and wrote: “Khalistan Flag hoisted on Red Fort.. BIACK DAY FOR INDIA..(sic)”
Kreately, a blog which has been called out before for sharing misinformation in the past, shared a set of images with one showing a man holding a poster that reads “We want Khalistan” and other one showing a visual of Red Fort.
WHAT WE FOUND OUT
The Quint’s reporter Shadab Moizee, who was present at Red Fort, confirmed to us that the two flags that were hoisted were not Khalistan flags. One was the Sikh religious flag Nishan sahib (The orange flag), and the other was a farmers’ flag.
We also compared the orange flag with the Nishan Sahib, which is seen atop religious places to establish that the two are the same.
We then compared the two flags with the Khalistan flag to show that the two are different.
While we have not been able to identify the organisation the yellow flag belongs to, but the visual comparison establishes that none of the two flags were Khalistan flags.
Speaking to The Quint’s WebQoof team, Navjot Randhawan, a journalist with Aaj Tak, who was at Red Fort, too confirmed that the flag was Nishan Sahib while the other one was a farmers’ flag.
We also spoke to author Amandeep Sandhu who has written extensively on Punjab and he told us, “Whether yellow or saffron, triangular flags with the Khanda – two swords – are Sikh flags. They are not Khalistan flags. In fact, there is no established or legitimate Khalistan flag.”
He further said that the hosting of this flag was symbolic but added that there was no call to do it and it was not a part of any union’s program.
Moreover, the claim about the national flag being ‘supplanted’ isn’t true and the visuals provide a clear evidence.
SEVERAL JOURNALISTS TOOK TO TWITTER TO CLARIFY
Several journalists took to Twitter to state that the flags hoisted at the Red Fort are Nishan Sahib flags.
Although violence ensued in various parts of Delhi following the tractor rally, but the narrative which was being created around the Khalistan flags being hoisted is completely false.