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Poster Saying ‘Free Sharjeel Imam’ Is Not From Farmers’ Protest

The image is from a protest organised in February 2020 in Kerala in support of the anti-CAA protesters.

Updated
WebQoof
3 min read
An image of a poster demanding the release of activist and anti-CAA protester Sharjeel Imam with claims that it is from the ongoing farmers’ agitation is doing the rounds on the internet.
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Social media is abuzz with an image of a poster demanding the release of activist and anti-CAA protester Sharjeel Imam with claims that it is from the ongoing farmers’ agitation against the new farm laws.

However, The Quint found that the image is from a protest organised in February 2020 in Kerala, by the Welfare Party of India.

CLAIM

The aforementioned image is being shared massively on Facebook and Twitter with claims insinuating that the protesting farmers demanded the release of Imam with many users mockingly saying that Imam is a farmer too.

Imam had surrendered to Delhi Police in January after he was accused of delivering hate speech that led to violence in the Jamia Millia Islamia University in the national capital during the anti-CAA stir.
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An archived version of the tweet can be accessed <a href="https://archive.is/zcN90">here</a>.
An archived version of the tweet can be accessed here.
(Source: Twitter/Screenshot)
An archived version of the tweet can be accessed <a href="https://archive.is/Rc0W3">here</a>.
An archived version of the tweet can be accessed here.
(Source: Twitter/Screenshot)
An archived version of the tweet can be accessed <a href="https://archive.is/WGXpT">here</a>.
An archived version of the tweet can be accessed here.
(Source: Twitter/Screenshot)
An archived version of the post can be accessed <a href="https://archive.is/jcCY3">here</a>.
An archived version of the post can be accessed here.
(Source: Facebook/Screenshot)

The image was also used in an article on a website called Indian Defence Research Wing titled ‘Left-wing extremists have hijacked farmers’ protests’.

An archived version of the article can be accessed <a href="https://archive.is/BD2D5">here</a>.
An archived version of the article can be accessed here.
(Source: Indian Defence Research Wing/Screenshot)

WHAT WE FOUND

We ran a reverse image search on the viral photograph and found a tweet dated April 2020 which carried the same image. Although the tweet description did not provide any hints about the location or the exact date of clicking the image, we became certain that the said photograph has been in existence much before the ongoing farmers’ protests started.

An archived link of the tweet can be accessed <a href="https://archive.is/4Xhh2">here</a>.
An archived link of the tweet can be accessed here.
(Source: Twitter/Screenshot)

Next, we observed the image carefully and found ‘Welfare Party of India’ written on the upper right corner of the banner. We also observed posters in Malayalam and Welfare Party’s flag in the image.

Poster Saying ‘Free Sharjeel Imam’ Is Not From Farmers’ Protest
(Photo: The Quint)

We then reached out to Sajid Khalid, state secretary of Welfare Party’s Kerala wing, who confirmed that the image is from a protest organised by the party in February.

“This image is from the Occupy Raj Bhavan march organised by the Welfare Party of India on 25 and 26 February in support of anti-CAA protesters.”
Sajid Khalid, Welfare Party of India

We looked up for news reports on the ‘Occupy Raj Bhavan’ march and found articles by the Times of India and The Hindu.

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However, it must be noted, that farmers did put up posters of activists, including Umar Khalid and Bhima Koregaon activists, who have been jailed under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) at Tikri Border on 10 December.

A representative of the BKU told The Quint, while they agree that they have been put behind bars without charges and have also been wronged by the State, their demands are only for the three farm laws to be repealed.

Evidently, an old image was revived to falsely claim that it’s from the ongoing farmers’ protests.

(Not convinced of a post or information you came across online and want it verified? Send us the details on WhatsApp at 9643651818, or e-mail it to us at webqoof@thequint.com and we'll fact-check it for you. You can also read all our fact-checked stories here.)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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